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John Cuthber

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Posts posted by John Cuthber


  1. I don't understand this reference.

    "Many people here want a similar option like you have in the US where we have a protected right to defend ourselves and our property by whatever means are necessary."

    As Dak has pointed out, here in the UK you are allowed to use any means necessary to defend yourself (and family) and property.

    You don't need a law degree; you just have to act reasonably. If you cannot act reasonably you shouldn't be out on your own never mind carry a gun.

    The alternative seems that we introduce the death penalty for trespass.

     

    There was a recent case where a farmer was convicted becuse he shot a couple of burglars. He shot them in the back and they were unarmed; does that not rather change the interpretation?

     

    As I see it the simple truth about guns is that they are for killing people. The fewer of them there are about the place the better.

     

    At least nobody has brought up the old line about "If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have them" so I guess the message has got through about that.


  2. The density will give you a good start but you cannot really calculate this sort of thing from first principles. After all the density of the solid gives you the mass of a given volume of the solid. When that's disolved in water there's no reason to supose it will be the same volume.

    The real answer is to calculate the amount of FeCl3. 6H2O you need, add the calculated volume of HCl and then place the mixture in a 500 ml volumetric flask. Then you make the mixture up to 500 ml with water.

    BTW, what do you want it for? there's no way it's going to be accurate because the hydration will be variable.


  3. Have you studied lenses and image formation in general? The fact that this lens is in an eye is a bit of a distraction. (In fact, a more accurate idea of how the eye works means that there isn't enough information to answer the question so they must be expecting a fairly simple model.)


  4. I must have missed something;

    "Germany under the Nazis and Afghanistan under the Taliban come to mind, as well as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait."

    OK, Germany invaded Poland etc., Iraq invaded Kuwait. The international community responded to both those acts.

    Remind me; who did Afghanistan invade?

    I realise they are a thoroughly unpleasant lot but that's a slightly different kettle of fish from invading another country.


  5. I can't really tell people about the bomb because it's your prediction, not mine.

    You wrote "You really believe in the next 50 years they won't achieve it? Do you believe they won't try to use a nuclear weapon in the next 50 years? Rapes and muggings pale in comparison to that dynamic..." and, in doing so you introduced this single bomb. Why acuse me of inventing it?

     

    My only prediction was to guess that it would be about as bad as one of the bombs that has been used. I guess that you are now predicting lots of atom bombs; that would make a difference, but it's moving the goalposts a bit. It's also perfectly possible that a single bomb could kill 25 times more people than died at Hiroshima; it might also kill fewer.

    If it's ridiculous of me to try to predict the future then it's clearly just as bad when you do it and predict that for some reason the death toll will be a lot bigger than it was last time.


  6. I predict the sun will rise tomorow because it always has in the past.

     

    If you feel hungry will you go and get something to eat? Surely that's absurd because it relies on the prediction of the future; the prediction being that eating will stop you being hungry; and you cannot predict the future.

     

    Do you really think that the figures for rape will change much? Is it absurd to predict that human nature, warts and all, will basicly remain the same?

     

    Here's a stock market tip based on the same principle. Share values will generally go up over the long term. Feel free to try to sell it on to any stockbrokers you meet.

     

    Perhaps you didn't notice the bit where I sugested that we might be able to prevent the bombing even though that would falsify my predictions.

     

     

    I will try to make the bit about poor tactics clearer.

    If your tactic is one that would piss you off if you were in the place of the neutral (or at least not actively hostile) neighbours of your enemy and would convert you to active hostility and if the actual enemy are few and far between and the neighbours are common; then it's a dumb tactic.

     

    For example the UK government , faced with IRA terrorism tried a policy called internment. Basicly they locked up known IRA sympathisers and activists. OK Hindsight is 20 20 vision but how big a shock is it that, when they locked up 1 man, the IRA was more easily able to recruit his brothers, father, neighbours and so on. They dropped that tactic.

     

    It is, as has been pointed out, very hard to spot terrorists so it's very hard to target them accurately. This, in turn means that a lot of innocents, bystanders and neighbours will also be affected by any action you take against terrorists unless you are extremely careful. The Abu Ghraib incidents will not have seemed like extreme care to the locals. Nor will Gitmo. They will have looked exactly like theactions of "evil Americans" they had heard about from the likes of OBL. OK, Gitmo may have removed a few terroists from "active service"; how many more has it produced? I guess it's impossible to know directly. But if the incidence of terrorism has risen it's not unreasonable to say that there are more terrorists. If there are more of them it's reasonable to ask why. If the reason for that might well be the current policy then you have to ask if there's a better one.

     

    "Dropping food is a great way to combat terrorism. This way, the places they used to be won't be in danger while they're on their way to snatch up the food drops. Rewarding terrorist activities is the best way not to recruit?"

     

    Doh!

    Drop lots of food; enough that there's no reason to compete for it. That way you reward those people who are not terrorists and, since they are the majority, that's not a bad thing.

    Seriously, imagine you are OBL or someone of his nature. If the Americans are dropping food from the sky how are you going to recruit people to "fight the evil Americans"?

    Do you not think that most people would say "Well, sure I could do that and probably die , or I could not bother..."?


  7. Haezed, be careful saying things like "Very few deaths are actually caused by terrorism compared to auto accidents and we are over reacting to their rearrangement of our largest city's sky line and attempt to take out the capital." you might get accused of pacifism. Of course, you might have been joking.

    There's a lot to be said for taking an argument to its logical conclusion.

    If on the other hand you take it to an ilogical conclusion that's another matter. You are, practically speaking, setting up a strawman.

    Can you not see the difference between total capitulation and seeing that the other guy might have a point?

     

    Paranoia

    It's true to say that just because there has been a rise in terrorism since Mr Bush introduced these tactics does not mean that those tactics are responsible; after all there has been an increase in terrorism since my neighbour's cat died in 2001, that doesn't mean his death is the cause.

    However if the policies are the sort that, if they were applied to you and your "group", they would lead you to consider attacking those responsible, you have to consider that there might be a causal relation. If there is such a relation then changing those policies would be a good idea.

     

    That doesn't preclude the value of saying, for example, "GWB's policies suck because they kill lots of people."

     

    Also, the death toll form the Hiroshima bomb is estimated as about 192000

    (http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0014151.html)

    The number of rapes in the US is of the order of half that every year.

    (http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/warchive/970203_1408.html)

    Over the course of the next 50 years a bomb would kill something like 25 times fewer people than will be rape victims.

    I don't think 25 times more victims is going to pale anytime soon. Then you can add the muggings, murders, vehicle accidents....

    Of course, defending the fissile material that you need to make a bomb with might be a cheaper option.

     

    Incidentally, this idea

    "But that logic doesn't work, because ANY plan that involves fighting back is going to increase terrorism and recruitment." is interesting.

    When they first started dropping bombs on Afghanistan, it struck me that it would have been cheaper and more effective to drop food. This would have been fighting back against the warlords because it would have undermined their power. I don't think it would have upset the locals or helped recruit any more terroists.

    As I see it, any plan that involves recruiting more terrorists is not a way to fight back against terrorism.


  8. You might be able to do it. Does anyone here really understand the nature of the coriolis effect? The trade winds seem to find it easier to go one way rather than the other but I don't know how much of that is driven by the sun tracking accross the sky.

    If the earth were perfectly spherical it would be easier to run round the equator than down zero longitude from the north pole and then up the other side because you wouldn't have to fight the effect, but I don't think it would matter which way you ran.


  9. Strictly speaking I'm not sure we are talking about "aircraft that can't land anywhere without said upgrade"

    We are talking about aircracft that can land at any big airport once.

    I understand that, in an emergency, it is possible to land big aircraft "safely" without the undercarriage. You get the airport to lay down a big mat of fire- fighting foam and skid to a halt in that.

    I don't see this idea catching on anytime soon.


  10. I'm a chemist for a living and I don't know what linear algebra is.

    I haven't done any matrix arithmetic since I was a student.

    Having said that you do need to know about matricies, calculus and eigenvalues if you want to do theoretical chemistry and quantum mechanics.


  11. "Originally Posted by John Cuthber

    "What does the tactical situation on the ground have to do with the handling of the political aftermath? I don't understand this correlation at all."

     

    The only relation is that people are slagging off both without proposing any sugestions as to how they might have been handled better.

     

    (Of course, the overall tactics of this conflict are political so the two are not totally unrelated)

    The politics of selling the stories to the newspapers is another matter- it could clearly have been done better, but it's a relatively minor point.

    I can understand your frustration at hearing comments made in that manner, but I'm afraid that we can't enforce something like that. It's not SFN policy to require people to have suggestions for improvement before they can post an opinion on a subject. Though I think sometimes that perhaps it should be! "

     

    Thanks for that, in the meantime I will just have to take comfort from the fact that, since they aree not rushing to tell me how they would have done better, they are not able to. It's easier to see your country's servicemen and women (and even politicians) criticised by people who seem to have no knowledge, than by those who do.

     

    Oh, by the way, can someone tell me does this

    "You know, it's funny how people like to point out that half the world hates the US, but no one points out that it's only ONE part of that world that targets and kills civilians of that country. Why is it the rest of the world is expected to keep their heads, but the middle east gets a free pass?"

    mean that only Middle East countries can get away with despotism and terrorism?

    If so will someone let me know who moved Zimbabwe to the Middle East? It's not the only example, but it's probably one of the nastiest.

    Or was the statement just nonsense in the first place?


  12. "when you force air into your mouth and it gets compressed, it can hold slightly more water vapour."

    Why?, the vapour pressure of water is not dependent on the external pressure (at least, not at the temperatures and pressures we are talking about here).

     

    On the other hand, when the pressure is dropped again the air cools, it can hold slightly less water vapour.


  13. "Duh... Of course fighting back pisses off the enemy more. If I walk up and punch you in the face and you hit me back, I'm going to get really pissed and hit you even harder and more. Does that mean you shouldn't fight back?? Does that mean fighting back won't work?? This is a tired, single level thought process point here."

     

    I don't care if they get upset; I care that more people on our side die as a result of these actions.

     

    I think there's about 300 million people in the states; to a good aproximation they will all be dead in a hundred years so the death rate is something like 3 million a year or about 8000 a day.

    The worst terrorist atrocity in history, unprecedented in scale, raised the death rate by less than 50% for a day. I think a bad spell of cold weather can do that. I'm not trying to belittle the suffering of those involved but on the grand scale of things, it didn't achieve much beyond making a lot of Americans hate Moslems.

    If they could get the bomb, they would have used it. They haven't so it's fair to say they can't get it. Let's try to keep it that way.

    Without the bomb they are just an irritation.

     

    As for

    "No, the problem you suffer from is lack of interest. We've been not very damn interested in anything terrorists have been doing for three decades now. They declared war on us 30 years ago "

    It's a good deal less than 30 years ago that I was woken up by a terrorist bomb in London. As it happens I was away on business when another terrorist bomb ripped apart a building across the traffic island from where I worked.

    Another terrorist was arrested at the bus stop just 50 yards or so up the road from where I worked.

    Fortunately my family were out of town when yet another bomb, planted in a litter bin, tore through the main street in the town centre where they usually go shopping. The terrorists killed a couple of children with that bomb. They were burried in the church where, as a kid, I made brass rubbings.

    Would you like to explain the sense in which I have had a lack of interest in terrorists please?

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