Open Discussion – December 2018

Dec 1, 2018

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137 comments on “Open Discussion – December 2018

  • The December open discussion thread is now open.

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  • From VOX:


    Here’s the even worse news, though: If May’s deal is bad, a no-deal Brexit scenario — which will happen if a final deal isn’t approved by the fast-approaching March 29, 2019, deadline — would be potentially catastrophic for the UK.


    Brit friends:


    Would you say that the general public is in a state of panic over this? March isn’t very far away! I feel a sense of doom even from across the big pond.

  • Laurie #2

    A no-deal Brexit would indeed be worse but the suggestion that that is the only alternative to the bad deal May is putting forward is just pure government spin, with a view to bullying/terrifying MPs into voting for a bad deal OR ELSE.

    The reality is that there is significant public pressure building for a 2nd vote, and even some senior politicians who have previously ruled a 2nd vote out have been conceding in the last few days that there may be no other realistic alternative.

    The EU have made it perfectly clear that, while they are not prepared to go back and renegotiate THIS deal, the options are now 1) this deal, 2) no deal or 3) no Brexit. And they have also made it clear that they would be willing to suspend the countdown to 29th March if that’s what we needed in order to hold a 2nd vote to resolve the impasse and avoid No Deal.

    So a 2nd vote is CLEARLY the only responsible way forward now. There is now consistent public support for one, and the simple fact is that, whatever the die-hard Brexiteers may claim, almost literally NO ONE who went into the voting booth on 23 June 2016 and put their cross next to Leave had the scenario that May’s deal commits us to in mind.

    Voters were told over and over again that leaving the EU would be straightforward, that it would leave us better off, that it would mean more money for the NHS, that OF COURSE it wouldn’t mean we’d leave the Single Market, and that the UK would hold all the cards in the negotiations with the EU.

    There are indeed some people who hate the EU so much that they genuinely couldn’t give a damn how much pain leaving will inflict on themselves and others. But all recent polls, including an enormous one of 20,000 respondents (for the UK population, polls generally work on the basis of 1700-2000 respondents for reasonable statistical significance), now show that most UK voters now do have a sense of the huge, needless pain Brexit would inflict on themselves, their children and their grandchildren, and have changed their minds and no longer want to go through with it.

    At this stage, I personally think No Deal is the least likely outcome. Not impossible – with ideologues and charlatans in charge, nothing is ever impossible. But I don’t think it will happen. Despite the consensus among the pundits, I don’t rule out the possibility that Theresa May will get her deal through parliament: she has an uncanny knack of getting her own way, and the Conservative Party is notorious for the sheer ruthlessness with which it treats its potentially rebellious MPs. Tory MPs will be coming under enormous, even brutal, pressure to buckle down and do as they’re told.

    But there is a real fightback now. The Sunday Telegraph is today reporting ( that 8 Cabinet Ministers are secretly planning to try to get us into the European Free Trade Association if May’s deal is voted down. EFTA membership would give us full participation in the Single Market but not the Customs Union, meaning we’d still be able to strike our own trade deals, and wouldn’t be covered by the Common Agricultural or Common Fisheries Policies (both of which are hated by the ardent Brexiteers). As a compromise solution, it would have a lot going for it. On the other hand, it’s not a given that EFTA would be willing to let us in – the UK economy is bigger than that of all the other EFTA members combined, and that, together with our proven resentment at being required to co-operate and negotiate and compromise as opposed to just boss other countries about, would make us an extremely uncomfortable addition to what is currently a pretty harmonious grouping.

    But it’s interesting and encouraging because it shows the direction of travel at some senior levels of the government: away from No Deal and towards closer co-operation with our European partners.

    Personally, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we ended up with another vote now.


  • Re. the huge pressure that will be being put on Tory MPs to get them to support May’s deal, I’ve just seen this tweet from Robert Peston, one of our leading political commentators:

    I am told by Tory MPs that full force of Conservative Party machine is being mobilised to put pressure on party associations and their respective chairs to put maximum pressure on their respective MPs to back @theresa_may and her Brexit deal. How many rebel Tory MPs will buckle?

    In other words: support the deal or lose your seat.

  • FWIW – re Brexit – my view is that there will not be a second referendum – because it is perceived to grossly devalue the democratic validity of the first one!

    I think that May’s Brexit agreement with the EU will ultimately win the Commons vote – i.e. the present Parliamentary doubters will change their minds.


  • Just in general, when in the presence of someone who has made a grave error, a good strategy is to offer them a way to make it right with minimal humiliation, especially when the consequences are very punishing.

    Leadership is important.

  • Erol says:

    FWIW – re Brexit – my view is that there will not be a second referendum – because it is perceived to grossly devalue the democratic validity of the first one!

    The first referendum didn’t have any “democratic validity”! It was a vaguely worded fraud, designed to con the people with false promises and lies about making them better off!

    Nobody should respect cons or con artists, regardless of how many times they demand respect for their dishonest schemes! !

    As for negotiating wondrous deals outside of the EU, the UK doesn’t even have a team of professional trade negotiators with the necessary understanding of international laws! – and (with an international shortage of such professionals), does not have much chance of recruiting a team which is much use!

    The EU trade negotiators have dealt with trade negotiations on behalf of members since the UK joined in 1973! The UK civil service has nobody with any experience at trade negotiations.

    If they had sought advice, or had  any competence at all, the brexiteers might have noticed this before now!  As it is they are full of Dunning-Kruger confidence, but cannot even put together a coherent plan which they can agree amongst themselves!

  • Erol


    Our credibility is gone. The only way we can grab some of it back is for a massively pro European leader and the generous get out plan that Laurie mentions (7). We can’t apologise enough for our brexiters for decades to come.

  • >there will not be a second referendum – because it is perceived to grossly devalue the democratic validity of the first one!


    The fact that the public opinion has flipped increasingly against that fatuous vote once the consequences of such actions has been revealed has already devalued the first one.


    Its a snapshot in time used to define a future for generations. From a recent FT


    >Between June and September this year, pollsters BMG, ICM, Survation and YouGov have all showed narrow leads for Remain over Leave, mostly of less than 3 per cent. Their polling error margins of between 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent mean the results are statistically indistinguishable from a tie. However, there have been about half a dozen polls since June where Remain has recorded leads over Leave of more than 3 per cent. A NatCen survey found a 59 per cent to 41 per cent split in favour of Remain. But NatCen acknowledged that after adjusting for how its survey sample was skewed towards anti-Brexit people, the true margin in favour of Remain was 54 per cent to 46 per cent.


    Younger generations (as seen in exit poll results themselves) overwhelmingly supported remain. Scared old folk are visiting us with a bitter farewell and “fuck you”. As they die the taste for remain will only continue to grow.

  • A couple of snippets from the news this week. First on the lighter side the mother who’s complaining that airline staff mocked her daughter who she named Abcde pronounced Absidy. I can’t condone mocking the child whose fault it is not but the mother should be tarred and feathered. Outrageous children’s names is a very celebrity thing to do. Zowie Bowie, Ziggy Marley, North West. I think it reeks of narcissism, needing to gain even more attention vicariously by having ones children in the limelight for the wrong reasons. That’s why it seems to be primarily an actor and musician thing although celebrity chef Jamie Oliver didn’t hold back with his kids Poppy Honey Rosie, Buddy Bear Maurice, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Daisy Boo Pamela and River Rocket Blue Dallas.

    Not so much levity for celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson who has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women. One claims he drugged and raped her which sounds very Cosby and somewhat far fetched. The other two just talk of unwanted sexual advances. I have to say I’m not overly surprised in this instance. I tend to wonder if Tyson’s booming voice and overpowering personality might have manifested in other areas of his life. I do like his work, especially Cosmos, but he irritates me at the same time and I could do with it all being dialled down a couple of notches. At least I have a volume control at my end. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out anyway.

  • Hi Errol [#6],


     my view is that there will not be a second referendum – because it is perceived to grossly devalue the democratic validity of the first one!

    I find your opinion fatuous.  A second vote would, by definition, be more democratic.

    You’re effectively saying that, in a democracy, the electorate cannot change it,s collective mind.  That’s so incoherent it’s not even wrong.

    I think that May’s Brexit agreement with the EU will ultimately win the Commons vote

    On what basis?


  • The latest YouGov poll shows 55% for Remain and 45% for Leave. 2 weeks earlier, those figures were 54% and 46%, respectively, so support for Remain is clearly holding up well.

    Only 27% of voters support May’s deal. 45% oppose it.

    (Source: tweets by @YouGov)

    I can’t remember the last time a properly conducted national poll showed Leave in the lead.

    And I really can’t see what would be ‘democratic’ about foisting an outcome on the electorate that that electorate shows every sign of no longer wanting.

  • @Marco[#14]

    ”I really can’t see what would be ‘democratic’ about foisting an outcome on the electorate that that electorate shows every sign of no longer wanting.”

    I have never seen a sign of the electorate wanting to Leave. The advice given by the Referendum to the Government and Parliament was that those who voted appeared to be split roughly evenly. One estimate of what the result would most likely have been if 100% of the electorate had voted was 50.35% in favour of Remain (see

    Demographic analysis of the votes suggest that, had 16..17-year-olds been allowed to vote (which they were not because of cost), the likely majority for Remain would have been greater still (and, unless maturity tends to breed Leaveness, the majority in March 2019 would likely be even greater).

    And had EU27 nationals who live in, and pay taxes in, the UK been franchised, the majority for Remain might not even be marginal.

    There are other considerations (such as protest voters, those disenfranchised for having lived abroad for more than 15 years, voters swayed by lies, etc.), all of which could have been considered by Parliament had they been allowed to properly debate whether the UK should leave the EU. No such debate has taken place on that very momentous issue. Why? Because of Government lies and because of the Government’s use of politics to override the spirit of representative democracy  (illustrated by the Peston tweet you quoted earlier).

    The biggest lie was that the Referendum was binding. Had it been so, a supermajority would have been appropriate, and maybe more effort would have been made to let the electorate know what the consequences of Leave would be.

  • I’m feeling the need to change the mood a little, but rather then doing some posing down the pub and looking slightly rough (old pop culture reference, very old) – I thought I’d have a go at understanding free will.

    I recently read Sam Harris’s book on Free Will. While it had the seeming advantage of being terse, I found it unsatisfying. I’m now ploughing my way through (and yes, it does seem hard work at times) Julian Baggini’s offering.

    Although I haven’t finished Baggini it seems probable that he will end with something along the lines of ‘there’s wiggle room in there … somewhere .. where free will might be found’.  Perhaps by pre-judging I’m being too hasty, but there it is.

    As far as I can tell these two authors are, in fact, good examples of the arguments for and against the existence of free will.

    Even though Baggini’s arguments appear to be based on the same tactics as god-of-the-gaps arguments, it doesn’t seem so much of a stretch to me to think in terms of undiscovered country when considering free will.  Nevertheless, just like those god’s living in ever-shrinking gaps, it does also seem a teensy bit desperate.

    Free Will – usually summarised as: If we could rewind the tape of life we have the ability for the story to be told completely differently as we re-record our lives, by changing our decisions and opinions.

    I don’t get it. I don’t believe I could have lived my life differently at any stage and if I did I would have been a different person to the one I was then, and that I am now.

    You may say that this is the whole point, and I would agree with you.

    What do you think?

  • SOW

    >I don’t believe I could have lived my life differently at any stage 


    When I think about everything about me that had nothing to do with my choices, I don’t see how I could’ve done much differently.

    The parents I have, the sibling I have, the country, state, town, neighborhood I was born and brought up in, the probably random event that I’m female with associated brain chemicals and hormones that direct my reproductive behavior, the men I’m attracted to, the friends I found myself with who influenced me for better or worse, the fact that I’m a good reader and a dunce at math, the 60s and 70s culture that put me at odds with my parents, my three kids and their individual needs and the people around me now who need help and behave in ways that influence my daily life..have I ever been in any control of my own life?!!

    I will now purchase an Air Stream and take off impulsively for the wild, wild West.

  • Free Will, is that Schrodinger’s Horse?  Flog it all you like, it’s still dead. Or not dead. Or both.

    I’ll propose a hypothesis of free will that might fit  — you have no free will in what you do, but all the freedom in the world to make up excuses for why you did it.  Call it Determinism With Creative License, perhaps.

  • For me “free will” is a hoax. It is used by people who want to split you from your culture, the better to blame and control you, or to better isolate themselves to magnify their achievements and desserts.

    Will is what we choose for our selves, but it is never, ever unconstrained. Will is constrained by culture, by genetic heritage, by neurons like thus, not like so, by physics, by our bodies, by the smell of freshly baked bread, a curve of a women like so, by moral roadblocks. It is constrained by ignorance and exhaustion, panic, dopamine depletion.


    Far from being a moral tool of a concept it is a hoax, used, ironically, as a tool of manipulation.


    Though a bit simple, try Raoul Martinez. TED talk and recent book “Creating Freedom”.

  • Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves” is a great treatment of the idea of free will. Concluding with the idea that we grow freedom by our efforts. From the, soon dead, early hunter gatherer with little to no choice we cultivate it. We can now choose from many equally good alternatives (Beef Wellington or Sea Bass).


    Free Choice not free will.

  • Laurie,

    Missed off both our lists is the constraint of truth. If “free will” is a capacity to diverge, then it may be the very enemy of a commitment to truth, that sternest mistress.

  • Wait, Phil, “free will” is a capacity to diverge, (yes, right) but how is it an enemy of commitment to truth? Dumb that one down a bit if you will.

    I need to use my free choice, minute though it is, to get as close as I can to my perceived attempt at truth, flawed as it is by my self serving biases.


  • Laurie 19


    I have a five year old boy waiting for me on the shores of Cyprus since 1966. I keep going back looking for him but neither of us know who the other is so we carry on looking. I imagine him to be dumber than me, as we grow older, but he is happier because he didn’t have to live with the conflict of living in another culture.


  • Olgun,

    Ah.  It’s so poignant. This is the immigrants’ cross to bear, if you’ll pardon the expression. I do have a window into that anguish but can’t feel it fully. Of course I see it in my husband and now assume it in every other immigrant too. Only three years lived in another culture and that intense homesickness morphed my mind into something different. On return, my Grandmother remarked that I seemed a different person. That was painful.


    In one of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s books she explained the strange relationship that immigrants have with the old country and discussed the need to go back and send money back even though both of these behaviors caused financial punishment to the immigrant. I know of immigrants here in the States who charge up thousands for these trips home and are criticized for it but the people who were born here don’t understand that five year old boy on the shore in Cyprus and the oversized grip he has on the present day man.


    At about the one year mark in my North African adventure, we were visiting a family who were so over the top in their hospitality. The TV was on in the background and a scene from NY City came on with loud American music and exciting scenery. I started shaking and holding back from crying. The poor family couldn’t figure out what was happening. I feel bad about it now but these memories are strong connections to the past and can’t be deleted. I hope you’ve made your peace with that boy, the man he became, the others in the story and the circumstances. Maybe not a perfect peace but just the best you can do for now. It ain’t easy.



  • Laurie 26

    Not perfect, as you say but we are alright. Just wish I didn’t envy his confidence so. It only got to the point of tears once, a couple foyers ago. It was a bunch of fourteen year old students, in Cyprus, and they were at the mall behaving just like a group would in the UK but with Turkish Cypriot nuances that mimicked their parents generation and although I recognised it, I was not familiar with it and felt I had missed out.


    The conflict for a five year old me was easier than anything my parents had to face. I was quite happy being British but recent history has had me claim my citizenship in North Cyprus. Brexit has me worried and uncomfortable. Might need a bolt hole for somewhere that I don’t fully feel at home in either and am not always treated as a Cypriot by those there.

  • Olgun


    Brexit has me worried and uncomfortable. Might need a bolt hole for somewhere that I don’t fully feel at home in either and am not always treated as a Cypriot by those there.

    Ugh, yes. I feel the same way about the Trump disaster here. My husband and kids are dual nationals but alas, I have only the US passport. Resident visa in Algeria but we may all be shopping for an additional one! I wouldn’t say no to that. There are family commitments that hold me here for a time but only for a few more years. Starting to lay the groundwork for possible exit. I need the US economy to hold steady just one more year but we feel a tipping point is imminent.

  • Earlier this year, Professor Noam Chomsky gave a speech at St. Olaf College. You can watch it at  In his speech he addressed the urgent question of whether organized human life will survive because of the threat of nuclear weapons, and global warming.  Earlier today — December 3, 2018 — Sir David Attenborough took the floor at the conference being held in Katowice, Poland:  Here is the text of Sir David’s speech.

    Transcript of the speech by Sir David Attenborough COP24, Katowice, Poland 3rd December 2018.
    Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. ‘We the peoples of the United Nations’. These are the opening words of the UN Charter. A charter that puts people at the center. A pledge to give every person in the world a voice on its future. A promise to help protect the weakest and the strongest from war, famine and other man-made disasters. Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate Change. If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. The United Nations provides a unique platform that can unite the whole world. And as the Paris agreement proved, together we can make real change happen. At this crucial moment, the United Nations has invited the world’s people to have their voice heard, by giving them a seat. The People’s Seat; giving everyone the opportunity to join us here today, virtually, and speak directly to you the decision makers. In the last two weeks, the world’s people have taken part in building this address, answering polls, sending video messages and voicing their opinions. I am only here to represent the ‘Voice of the People’: to deliver our collective thoughts, concerns, ideas and suggestions. This is our ‘We the peoples’ message. ( Video : ) The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision makers, to act now. They are behind you, along with civil society represented here today. Supporting you in making tough decisions but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives. To help make change happen, the UN is launching the Act Now bot. Helping people to discover simple everyday actions that they can take, because they recognize that they too must play their part. The People have spoken. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of our civilizations and the natural world upon which we depend, is in your hands.

  • phil #21

    a hoax indeed

    still reading what is life? and mind and matter

    schrodinger is a bit less ‘simple’ on free will


  • Guys, what a great response!

    Thank you, every one.

    Laurie B:

    When I think about everything about me that had nothing to do with my choices, I don’t see how I could’ve done much differently.

    I’m guessing you’ll probably be very pleased to hear that Sam Harris says the same, pretty much.


    … you have no free will in what you do, but all the freedom in the world to make up excuses for why you did it.  Call it Determinism With Creative License, perhaps?

    You’re not related to Oscar Wilde by any chance?  I really like that: cheeky, creative and on target!


    For me “free will” is a hoax. It is used by people … the better to blame and control you …

    You might be fascinated to note that Julian Baggini is largely of the same opinion (If I remember correctly he cites a chap named Frede on this point – Frede having studuied and written on this aspect of ‘free will’ a good deal … apparently)

    Anyway, I’m not giving up just yet on free will – though I have to say that when I discovered that free will is a post Greek Founders of Western Philosophy phenomenon … the needle on my Michael Shermer-honed Baloney Detector went ‘boing’ and wrapped itself round the end stop.


  • Laurie #24

    The question is if you had the choice between the capacity of “free will” whatever that might possibly mean and being right, why would you not choose being right? The desire for freedom of will seems weird to me. Its palpably clear that we are so complex and disparate in our genetic heritage and most particularly our early wiring experience that outside of parasites inflicting upon you tribalisms for their own end I will be a distinct agent. Wish for truth seeking and wish for freedom from exploiting others, but free will?


    The only coherent use of the phrase “free will” is when part of that bigger legal phrase “of your own free will”.

  • Ollie #25


    I love her initial questions about a birth lottery and its unfairness and profound impact, but I hate its upbeat, to me fatuous, American style conclusion.


    No it does not all get kissed better later. It is too late. We are near set in stone early on by those cultural experiences. The take away should be to act earlier to give children not simply an identity, but rather a robustness that comes from a rich positive and loving experience that builds real resilience and makes them at home in the world in a choice of the all rich cultures we can offer.


    Childhood was invented in England in the eighteenth century when we invested (literally) in children, their protection, education and happiness. We were richly rewarded (with some of the most inventive and confident young adults to date ready to make the world anew) and the low countries followed rapid suit, then on outwards.

    The solution to our woes may be a reboot. Childhood 2.0.

    If we fix things for kids as a priority, make sure they are loved and cared for, fed, educated and protected (but not “spoiled”) before grown up interests, if we acknowledge that parenthood is selfish unless the commitment to children is prioritised, then we may make quite the moral world, fit for the unborn without even planning to,

  • I’ve been thinking about all the comments regarding free will.  I usually think about the concept of “free will” as it relates to individual actions, but I wonder if there is something to be said about our collective societal free will, or lack thereof.  I’m particularly thinking of the Climate Change conference going on right now in Katowice (see my post #29).  Albert Einstein said that while he was determinist and did not believe in free will, he recognize that he, and presumably the rest of us, must act as though it exists, otherwise it’s not possible to hold people responsible for their actions.  (sorry, I don’t have a citation for that Einstein quote.)  I hope the nations of the world can pretend to have enough free will to curb greenhouse gasses we are pumping into our environment.  If we can do that, maybe we can tackle the other problem which is likely to end life on this planet – nuclear weapons.

  • Stephen,

    Michael Frede was a fellow at my brothers college.  I didn’t know he did anything on free will, though he did get into early Christian philosophies apparently. I must go look. Thanks.

    Not only do I not support the idea of free will, but nor do I support it from a compatibilist stand point either as I once did. I believe it leads us down paths that ignore the roots of our thinking, that is, how we are almost irrevocably wired from the youngest age in a flux of cultural experience. We are self bred as a species but not self made as individuals.

    Constructivism is my current concern and its implications for how we do morality, politics and the like.

    Baggini has a new book on philosophies in different cultures. I may need to get it…

  • Phil 33


    But what about the best possible fix for those already effected? The plasticity of the brain and possible bypasses? Both would have to be implemented on the world as it stands wouldn’t it? A Village of the Damded scenario otherwise?

  • Ollie,  #36


    Yes. Mitigations. Making the best of a bad job facilitates the change, with more functioning people understanding the problems…. but the change must happen.

    What I objected to was the idea that it could all be kissed better, so no worries about early childhood. This is a deeply fallacious attitude as we are rapidly discovering. Early experience is the most formative and permanent. If we only noticed more we could mitigate more, even the toughest of blights on a life like psychopathy can be diagnosed and mitigated if noticed early enough.

    “Kids are tough” is true but the cost on kids is high; on society higher still.

    Born in effect prematurely we are plastic like no other before. Our form is the result of culture’s fingerprints and culture’s neglect… sometimes half made Quasimodos.

  • Michael,

    If it provoked enough, some extra flesh is put on the bones in his recent book Creating Freedom.

    It details a lot of the stuff I have also been promoting here over the last few years so I am somewhat biased, but, dammit, its right.

  • As the vote on government ministers contempt of parliament gets underway,  I see a preliminary statement fro am officer of the European Court of Justice has said the UK could unilaterally cancel article 50.
    The UK should be able to unilaterally cancel its withdrawal from the EU, according to a top European law officer.
    The non-binding opinion was delivered by the European Court of Justice’s advocate general.

    A group of Scottish politicians has asked the court whether the UK can call off Brexit without the consent of other member states.

    The Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver its final ruling at a later date.

    The advice from advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona comes as the House of Commons begins five days of debates on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, with a vote due to be held next Tuesday.

    In a written statement, the ECJ said Mr Campos Sanchez-Bordona’s opinion was that if a country decided to leave the EU, it should also have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process specified in Article 50 of the EU treaty.

    And it should be able to do so without needing the consent of the other 27 member states.

    Who knows!  Our more dozy politicians might even wake up to the fact that the original referendum was ADVISORY, and they might even START to do their job of seeking expert advice, and serving the public interest!!

  • Presidentia non grata? Well he was non grata at McCain’s funeral, a man whose captivity at the hands of the Vietnamese he had cruelly mocked, but it would be unheard of for a president to skip the funeral of a predecessor. H.W must have thought so too because he said he wanted Trump there. Maybe wanting to be the bigger man, which of course he was in all respects apart from actual girth, although that’s not saying much because my 15 year old niece is a bigger man than Trump.


    So you’d think with the invite that would be a done deal. Nothing more to say. A sitting president couldn’t possibly refuse to attend. Not with someone as disgusting as Trump it seems. Before he would commit to going to H.W’s funeral he demanded undertakings from everyone giving an eulogy that they wouldn’t criticise him like speakers at McCain’s funeral had done, even indirectly, by praising Bush in a way that might be seen as taking a swipe at Trump such as “Bush was a great bipartisan, a man who believed you put country before party or yourself”. Only after everyone had promised not to be mean to him did Trump agree to attend.


    The barrel it seems is truly bottomless.

  • Arkrid


    It’s like living in a verbal war zone. Constant barrage of everything from shrapnel to full on bombs. Unrelenting all day, everyday.


    So now he’s controlling what others can say at Bush’s funeral. Control freak. He should be exiled from the funeral. It’s generous of W to try to include him but really, who is left to give a crap about official protocol? But then, that’s me isn’t it? If tradition doesn’t suit my purposes I’m happy to trash it. Trump at that funeral will only be happy when he monopolizes all attention on himself and his idiot wife. Can’t wait to see what Melania is going to wear! She’s out there blowing thousands on a one hour wear outfit. Like a naughty toddler, attention is necessary whether it be positive or negative, no matter. It’s all good.


    Leave the naughty toddler home and let the adults give Bush the send off he deserves.

  • Well I shall simply start by pointing out that it is not the year 2018, unless our willing to adopt the whole AC, BC Christian calendar. As an Atheist I don’t. Secondly, I would point out that after watching (I feel it should be sir) but Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss touring the world to both clarify and promote Atheism, I feel that dark ages of religion may indeed be behind us very soon. However, there is one religion that we are all members of without choice, without even our knowledge in most cases. It keeps new technologies from coming forward, it keeps the resources that could bring clean water to everybody, locked in one society. And worst of all it keeps us from the stars that died to make us possible. I’m talking of course about money. We are still in the “dark ages of money”.
    I don’t see why most people think we need money just because its been the status quoe since we decided its easier to exchange the promise of goods than that actual goods/valuables. Now the banks aren’t full of gold they are full of more pare or plastic promises. And how is it created? Its created with interest, this means you always need to create more to pay back the interest and it just goes on and on forever decreasing the value of every penny until its utterly worthless in its own system. I think it definitely requires a faith in the impossible, to continue to adopt a system so inherently flawed and easy to manipulate. And is it moral? I would say its not, If your government supports the notion that you cannot put a price on a human life, money makes them liars.
    How does one earn money? Work. For which a person is paid typically a minimum wage, set by the government. Left say its £7.50 an hour, And say that the average human life expectancy is 90 years. 7.5 x 24 x 365 x 90= the value of a human life according to your government. Who else thinks this is what they are worth? Or your kids are worth? I’m sorry but if you pay people for their time are you not owning them for that time? Your liable for them during work time. They defiantly don’t have their time to themselves. Your life is the time you are alive, is it not?
    I feel like I’m the only sane one remaining sometimes. Without money we have no rite to eat or drink or sleep under a roof. Did anyone else notice that in star trek they didn’t have money? Clearly, we will never be a united planet until we leave money in the bank and blow it all up. Then all our cars can run on water and poverty (the lack of money) will no longer exist, overpopulation will become a non-issue as we branch out into the cosmos. Every problem we face today can be sorted with science. But when’s the last time you sat down and thought “I’m so glad science is so well funded” ? for example You can’t ever have the newest latest mobile phone for ore than a week, because a newer better one that was designed a year ago is being released. But we’ve had the latest space technology for ages. The life span of a space shuttle would have far exceeded any model of mobile phone or TV. Why? Because science has to go where the money is! Otherwise there’s no money for the science.
    If your still in favour of money at this point, I will end by asking you this…
    Can you tell me of a better opportunity for greed to manifest itself than the existence of money?

  • @Dudley #45

    Money is simply a tool to enable transactions of variable worth to take place between people.

    If you wish to get rid of it, what are you going to put in its place?

  • Believe me, Dudley, I share many of your frustrations about inequity. Because of inequity we lose access to the talents of vast swathes of people who could join our adventure going forwards but, through poverty must devote their lives to mere survival.


    I propose, however, that money is an idea that will not be suppressed. Anyone can mint a coin actual or coded and declare it cash. As we have seen recently, with Bitcoin and all of bank’s financial instruments, tokens of value are created all the time and exchange rates spring up to enable their trade.


    Tokens of value (once we set aside inequity) are one of the most democratic levers we have over the world around us. By our daily use we collectively negotiate the relative value of an apple and a haircut, good health and that holiday to the Shetlands, a really good education for your kids and superb clothing. We are astonishingly different in our needs, because of our differing genetic and cultural heritages. We need to find some means to negotiate how we value (internally) every aspect of our lives in a way we can set against everyone else’s needs. Money is that mechanism of objectifying worth.


    Resources are limited, energy, brains to manage, stuff like this and like that, fresh air. We must know what we have and how we can most fairly dole it out. We must do so in an agreeable way. We must know what things are worth to people, the resources we consume and the things we make.


    The problem for you and I both is the debilitating effect of inequity, the suppressing effect it has on our collective ability to achieve. This in many ways is where money shines most. It the the very best indicator we have of unfairness.


    Let me join you in railing against inequity, but I’ll not join you in how you wish to achieve its mitigation, which I think the proverbial baby in the bath water. Fixing this is harder work than it seems, but I do agree that some radical thinking could well help. So for me I think that there may be a measure of wealth that looks at “problems found and solved” that might move us into the post stuff era (when economies are sustainable by virtue of becoming closed, and efficient through being sufficiently equitable) and growth proceeds by intellectual reconfigurations of stuff and virtual stuff.


    FWIW let me recommend “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Pickett of the Equality Trust a member of whom was a frequent poster here.

  • @Dudley #45

    And is it [money] moral?

    Hi Dudley! I would like to point out a common mistake made in the quote, “Money is the root of all evil.”

    In fact, the actual quote is, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” It isn’t the medium itself that is the problem–it’s the value we attach to it, and I don’t think we are bound to that value unless we choose to be.

  • The Dow tanked by 800 points again yesterday. A pretty normal occurence in the last two month’s roller coaster as the markets try to parse the latest incomprehensible utterances from President Shit-for-brains. It had risen on what seemed good news about tariffs from Trump’s meeting with President Xi in Argentina a few days ago but of course nothing Trump says or does can be relied on to still be policy in 5 more minutes time. No sooner had he got back home than he tweeted this.

    *Dec 4, 2018 10:03:41 AM ….I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN*

    The most extraordinary part is that Trump still does not appear to understand how tariffs work. Who does he think is paying those $billions he refers to and who is the “we” who is taking them in? Trump has tweeted this before and seems to think it’s the foreign countries who are paying the tariffs to the USA. It boggles the mind that a year after starting to impose them he still doesn’t understand that tariffs are a tax on the American purchasers not the overseas sellers. Has no one in the WH explained this to him yet? Is everyone so afraid of his inability to admit not knowing something and his vitriol and vindictiveness when he has to that they daren’t even try and talk about it?

    Now certainly the tariffs are putting $billions into the federal tax coffers and after the massive tax cuts Trump gave away those are much needed but with imports from China which are mainly low end goods for poor customers it’s Joe Public who is paying them which is ironic because in effect this is just another transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich which has been ongoing for 40 years now. The mega rich benefit from Trump’s $trillion tax cuts and the poor and working class get hit even harder to make up the deficit by tariffs. Yet these idiots still support him. The country is being led by someone too stupid to understand how his tariffs work who is being voted for by people too stupid to understand how he’s screwing them.

    The Nebraska Farm Bureau has just issued a report saying that the cost of tariffs on them so far this year is about $1 billion in reduced crop sales and loss of work for farm workers no longer employed. That’s about 15% or 1/7th of their normal annual farm exports. Farmers don’t tend to operate on margins that have 15% slack built in so that probably means that every Nebraskan farmer is in loss now or close to it. Nebraska produced about $3 billion worth of soybeans in 2017 but retaliatory tariffs imposed by China in Trump’s trade war have reduced sale prices by 40% from $2.50 a bushel down to $1.50. The NFB estimate that between 4000 and 6000 farming jobs have already been lost. Exports of corn and hogs have also been badly hit.

  • Tariffs are used by developing countries to protect specific industries that are being nurtured. In the US the south was very anti-tariff as it had a a lowest cost commodity (paid for by slavery) in cotton that it wanted every country to take. The north wanted to develop a manufacturing industry and needed to shut out British and European goods, so it imposed (temporarily) high tariffs on manufactured imports until its own industry got sufficiently established. Britain likewise protected nascent industries while developing some of its own. Indeed we can see “free traders” accepting narrow protectionism in other countries, because when eventually set free they might have ingratiated themselves sufficiently with “aid” that a new resource becomes available to them before others.


    Some protectionism is virtuous. See Ja Hoon Chang “Bad Samaritans” for detailed arguments.


    What Trump is doing, however, is incoherent. He is not nurturing nascent technologies (like electric cars, renewable energy) that could use a little defence from the Chinese onslaught, but putting at risk mature businesses whose margins are no longer easily tractable, that will not improve and most certainly not when protected from real market forces.


    This is dunderheaded. More importantly it is the thing most likely to irk his US paymasters, like the Kochs. He is hurting them, and Pence can’t brown nose enough to kiss it better.

  • The eyes of the United States, perhaps other places too, are watching the funeral of George H.W. Bush.  I can never forget, however, that it was Bush who gave us Dan (Potatoe) Quayle as the vice president.  In my opinion, Quayle represented the ignorant wing of the Republican Party that lead to Sarah Palin and ultimately the dunderhead, to use Phil’s characterization, we now have in the White House. 

  • I didn’t even see this tweet from 29th November before.

    Nov 29, 2018 07:32:13 AM Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before!

    So there you have it. Trump really does think China is being charged with tariffs, not the Americans who import Chinese goods. It’s hard to comprehend this level of stupidity about a simple financial transaction other than dementia has set in quite badly already.

  • From The Daily Beast today:

    Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: “I Won’t Be Here” When It Blows Up.

    Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s aides and advisers have tried to convince him of the importance of tackling the national debt.

    Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off, implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors—currently about $21 trillion—because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes even more untenable.

    The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.

    “Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.

  • RE:  Arkrid Sandwich ## 53 & 54

    Trump must really think the government can be run like one of his businesses – get other people to put up the original money, soak up everything that can be siphoned off the top, then when it fails walk away with bankruptcy protection, and let the core business rot away until no one remembers it was even there, and let the suckers try to sue him. 
    I was never a fan of George HW Bush – in fact, I campaigned against him in the 1992 election, and was able to go to the Clinton inaugural in January 1993 – but I never felt that Bush was out to destroy the country.  You could disagree with the policies of someone like Bush, but you didn’t have to fear the demise of the republic.  Trump, on the other hand, has no idea what the country is about, he’s only in it for what he can put in his own pockets.  I doubt he ever took a primary-school civics class. 
    If Trump were running up the deficit to rebuild the infrastructure, to provide K through Ph.D. education, to finance health care for everyone, to clean up the environment and stop global warming, to provide a living income to everyone, then the deficit could be justified, especially if he were willing to raise taxes on the top 1 and 0.1% who can afford to pay for a decent society.  What he wants to do, however, is to bilk the American people out of every penny he can get his hands on, and then crawl away like thief. 
    It’s not only the US economy that will be hurt – we know from the 2008 economic disaster when the other Bush was in the White House, that the entire world economy can be affected by what happens in Washington.  I keep recommending David Cay Johnston’s book – It’s Even Worse Than You Think – but Johnston really explains what Trump and his cronies are doing to the country.

  • Michael,


    The entire world economy…


    The Chinese sailed through the last crisis virtually unscathed though they spent as much mitigating it as the US. Its just that they did a “New Deal” and got a all those benefits for their $700bn, instead of an economy reset by a decade and more.

    They can take it. Its the rest of us’ll be fucked.

  • There must have been 100 times in the last 2 or 3 years when I’ve thought my mind simply can’t get any more boggled than it already has been but that never lasts more than a few days until the next even more boggling revelation. It’s like some sort of bizzaro world we’re stuck in. I’m trying to get my head round that Trump actually does believe that China pays him tariffs now to let their goods be imported and that he’s actually winning some sort of war which China are paying for. He’s like an onion. No matter how many layers of stupid and venal you peel away there are more and more underneath. Like a million years worth of wallpaper slapped on top of the old or an infinite collection of Russian dolls all stacked inside each other.

    In these times of mental crisis I generally turn to my rock, the fount of all wisdom, and read it to see what sage advice it has. No not the goat herders guide to the galaxy, the original, the hitchhikers one. Trump reminds me of the products of the Syrius Cybernetics Corporation which were so utterly useless it drove their users mad. The Guide goes on to say

    “It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.

    In other words – and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation’s Galaxy-wide success is founded – their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.”

    I think some of Trump’s supporters must similarly be so bedazzled by his surface flaws of boastfulness, arrogance, aggression and narcissism that they remain blinded to his fundamental ones of utter stupidity, pig headed refusal to learn and total incompetence at getting anything done.

    The great Douglas Adams died in 2001 and I miss him every time I take those wonderful books out of my bedside cabinet and start reading them again.

  • Just because someone can see a problem, dosent mean they need to have a solution linned up. but I would suggest a recource bassed echonomy, where the automation of work leaves everybody free to persue the things they dream of doing. It would need to be a new way that was planned and taught to our kids. it would be as much a way of life for them as money is for us ecxept you wouldent have interest and things like this destroying everything. Money created capialism and comunism.

    as far as limmited recources goes i suggest you do some research because we have enough for evryone. and enough energy from solar and geothermal power infact more than enough from just the solar energy. just imagin how much better at harvesting it we would be if our focus was in the right place.

    But wait how can we sell people energy if they can all just get it free? how can we sell them oil and petrol if their cars run on water? how can we tax them and build neucular weapons if they dont use money? so many people are blind to the real end of our species issues. I DONT CARE IF MONEY IS SIMPLE OR PRACTICAL FOR US! we are not the centre of the universe. The world provided the right mix of species and scenarios for us to come into being and exspand our veiw to see the whole planet that made us. our purpose should be to protect this plannet. When you visit someone elses house, do you not wish to leave it as good or better than you found it? then why the hell would anyone want to just munch and consume their way through 90 years of existence we dont need 50 different companies compeeting to sell us bread or toasters or different brands of smoke alarm? there should jusst be conventoins where the best possible product is designed with the least impact on the enviromrnt as possible.

    i urge you to look at what the cutting edge of science can do. It makes me so angry that people are being paid not to develope things, it makes me scared when i realise that people who dont take that offer seem to just vannish, and it makes me sick when i point out that money puts value on a human life! and none of you seem to agree? even tho this fact alon is a good reason to leave it behing along with all these isms and lables and lack of education… its like the world had been arranged by a toddler it really is. I for one could do a better job in 7 days (if everyone in the world could hear my voice at once) id have this place running like a paradice. i dont want a government where each person is selected by the majority of the public. I would rather have a collective of peole who between them had all the knowlage and all the experience to apply it. I would have education focus on ballence and how its important in everthing from the flow of emotions to the covelant bonds between atoms! the food you eat the exsorcise you do. and so on. education into a new way of life will happen. or we will all die out or have to kull ourselves into “sustainable numbers”

    there are people who love to do everything worth doing, everything that needs doing can probably at some stage be done by a mechine. (i know i would love to maintain robots) so why need money if recources can be collected cleanley by people who love to provide for the community. They in turn backed up by machines that run of solar energy never stopping and the whole system desinged with the knowlage of ballence. As long as you have ballence they will always be enough for everyone. There are people who love to cook and to create laughter and play music. imagine if you diddnt need a licence just to play on the street and you werent hearing people playing because they need money. only playing when the mood takes them, but being able to every time it does. you would only hear true tallent. instead of whatever will sell!

    The peroblem comes when you put a price on everything and allow 1% of the population can own a ridiculous percentage of its wealth.

    time to realise to all intencive purposes human being on this plant have the power to change everything about it for the better or worse… We are evuivelant to what peope call god in that respect. so why cant we take responsibility for our on going mistakes?

    Apply science and reason to my points please, and if your going to beleive we still need money after truly doing that…  then I beleive (as you do) that you are worth only £5,913,000 oh and thats only if you work every hour from your birth to your death. and thats if your lucky enough to be born in a contry that even has a minnimum wage. wake up people. your worth more than money can ever quantify. so why are you selling your finite time on this planet, to someone so they can sell a slightley different version of something that may be totally usless to everyone? because if you dont you cant eat you cat drink you cant sleep under a roof  ITS MADNESS! i bet everyone who lives on a penny a day would agree with me…

  • We have gone from a world where strong men prey on weak men, to one where rich men FARM poor men. We are all still living in it cant you see? Its the same shit, different day.

    Are any of you really going to sit there and tell me the system works? It may be working for you! but it needs to work for everyone, everywhere. When we are faced with a world issue we souldnt ask what does it cost! just can it be done? cost in a monetary sense has no place in the future we need.

  • @Dudley #60

    It may be working for you! but it needs to work for everyone, everywhere.

    You are being simplistic. Society works by people contributing to it and then being rewarded  depending upon the level of that contribution. It’s an imperfect – and generally fair system – but can be greatly abused. It’s the abuses that need to be weeded out!

  • @Dudley #62

    If someone has laboured to create a valuable business employing hundreds of people while producing products that the public desires, then yes, I can say that person deserves to be richly rewarded.

    Entrepreneurship with its associated high rewards is a powerful engine for general advancement and progress. People wouldn’t strive to invent new stuff otherwise.

  • While we all admire those who “(labor) to create a valuable business employing hundreds of people while producing products that the public desires…” we should never forget that no one performs such a task in a vacuum – without the society in which the business exists, entrepreneurship is not possible.  While entrepreneurs are entitled to be rewarded, I have to agree with Dudley Ramsden that they are not entitled to take the rest of us to the cleaners, as it were.  Entrepreneurs have an obligation to pay their fair share of taxes (and by fair share, I mean a very high rate such as was in place in the United States in the decades after World War II), as well as fair wages and benefits (fair being determined in a collective  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1bargaining process).  There is no reason whatsoever why we should allow a tiny minority of people to control the wealth of the planet.  That’s an intolerable situation.  The obscene wealth which we allow the super-rich to control is beyond my ability to understand.     

  • @Michael100 #64


    I totally agree that the right balance has to be attained between the entrepreneur and his co-workers. Everyone in a profitable company should be remunerated well. I am one of those who believes that there should be set a well defined ‘multiple’ regarding the highest vs lowest paid person in a particular company, whatever that might be. In recent years in the UK we’ve seen manager pay awards far outstripping their employee ones which can’t be justified.

  • I watched the funeral of G. H. W. Bush with my wife (a devoted Catholic) at the church in Houston.  It was filled to the brim with “believers” displaying extreme piety.  Question: Why do SO MANY people apparently believe in God and Jesus?  I felt so in the minority with my atheistic views.  I got think that maybe there is something wrong with ME.

  • Dudley you still haven’t demonstrated the evil of money per se, only the evil of its inequitable use.

    You need to create a whole system for contriving the things we want, ensuring we don’t get the things we don’t want.


    Clever parasites will game any system. The trick is creating cultures that expose them and deny them reward.

  • Jan #66


    It feels familiar to me that you should think you are in the wrong. You are not. You can coexist nevertheless. Well, a level higher in the conscious world anyway. 😉

  • Jan Nowak says:I watched the funeral of G. H. W. Bush with my wife (a devoted Catholic) at the church in Houston.  It was filled to the brim with “believers” displaying extreme piety.

    I think you would find that in most church services; but not necessarily at most funerals -where many may be attending out of  respect for the deceased, rather than from adherence to dogmas.

    However, this was an elite state occasion, so some may have been play-acting to a media audience or to those they wished to impress!



  • RE:  Jan Nowak 66,
    I agree wholeheartedly with what the others have said in response to your post.  At the risk of posting too many times today, I must say that I share your frustration with the insanity being expressed during the Bush funeral.  We must remember that religious belief equals delusion – never forget that.  And, No! there is nothing wrong with you.
    I assume that you, like me, live in the United States, a country possessed by this delusion.  I am, however, convinced that most, but certainly not all, people who profess such belief do so on a very shallow level.  Religion is such an integral part of our culture, that most people simply go along with the gag, unaware that there is no requirement to do so.  Although most don’t hold deeply thought out religious beliefs, neither do they feel intellectually qualified to question them, especially in times of stress such as during a funeral.  Nevertheless, we know that people who profess no religion are an ever increasing portion of the population.
    I think it’s important for unbelievers to speak up when an opportunity presents itself.  If someone expresses a religious platitude, however well intentioned, unless it’s likely to cause real hurt or offense, I have no hesitation is rejecting the cliché.  More often than not, people will admit that they are just saying something that they thought was appropriate.  Also, it lets people know that they are not required to act as though they believe the delusional nonsense.  We are not the odd ones, the believers are.  I think this is what is known as being openly secular.
    On top of everything else, the Bush funeral is nothing but hypocritical propaganda.  If you haven’t already, I urge you to watch the Democracy Now clip the link to which is in my post 58, above.

  • I see that characteristically of the brainless, visionless, politician, Trump continues to undo the work of the previous administration, and continues to ignore and disparage expert advice!
    The Trump administration has dealt a double blow to Obama-era environmental policies in an ongoing rollback that has targeted scores of rules.
    The Department of the Interior unveiled plans to allow oil drilling on millions of acres that have been off-limits to protect the greater sage grouse.

    And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would end rules limiting carbon emissions on new coal plants.

    The rollback continues despite the US’ own dire warnings about climate change.

    Only two new plants are currently expected to open over the next four years, according to Reuters news agency, but the policy changes could spur more to be built.

    The plan would allow new coal plants to emit up to 1,900lb (862kg) of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity, replacing the current limit of 1,400lb.

    The Sabin Center notes repeated attempts by Department of the Interior and other agencies to expand onshore oil and gas drilling, including on public lands.

    It also points to repeated proposals to weaken regulations controlling emissions of methane – a highly potent greenhouse gas.


  • On Tuesday, 27 November 2018 on BBC Radio 4 on ‘Trust me, I’m a Scientist’ RD presented a discussion on problems faced by scientists in communicating their ideas in the current intellectual environment. All sensible stuff, but it seemed to me to miss the point completely. As far as I can see, the primary reason that people don’t want to listen to science is because so much of what is publicised is bad news, global warming being the most obvious example. If we’re not all to be doomed it implies drastic, unpleasant and inconvenient action is necessary. People feel powerless and fearful in the face of this message, secretly think there is little or nothing that can be done about it and just want it to go away. The only way to process this information is to reject it. They may also think that they will be dead before it becomes an unavoidable crisis and therefore it will be somebody else’s problem. It has been widely considered the responsibility of government to respond rationally and logically to problems, but electorates recently have been choosing to elect politicians who deal with severe problems emotionally rather than rationally. The problem for scientists is not how to explain things more logically, but how to get people to listen calmly to unpalatable truths and to respond to them as positively as possible. This may only be achievable by building alliances and winning politically. Persuasion may well be insufficient.

  • Evil is a concept and I feel money fits the descripton because more people die due to lack of income than die from anything else exept maby the persute of money.

    Its evil because you trade your life for it phill. are you not getting the message? then your worth 6 mill aswell. and i could buy your time if i wanted to

    If i said ill pay you £10,000 a day to sit at home and say “Dudley is right” you would bloody do it. and youd be my slave. BTW in this scenario im just printing the money and laughing at you as you work for it…    thats what goverments do. they pring paper trade it for money at a loss! then make you work for it. then take some back fom you so they can “protect” you with police and nasty laws (most of wich are to stop you from making money)

    I’m sorry but this topic requires alot of open mindedness if you want solutions.

    we did not create this system, our fourfathers did! we were created by this system. the problem is they diddnt have the forsight to see how negative an impact it would have down the line. If they could see how easy it ould be to own a person or indeed a contry with it they’d have said hell no! We have both hindsight and foresight yet we are still using a flawed an outdated system thy you will all admit just dosent work and lets people work their lives away rather that reach their full potential.

    My fiancae ane I live on £500 a month, thats to cover rent food clothes bills the cats food (tuna) its un tennable to say the least. and we are still in the lucky 10% of the worlds population. its madness. in another contry our £500 could feed 20 familys… yes of course its evil.

    Boycott the system make a better one.

  • Also not every comodity that society needs has a price tag. for example good converstion isnt someting you can buy or be paid for, and yet you could spark a million pound idea in someones head. All of the arts are compleetley valued on taste and its a mess, theres hardley any tallent being put forward these days. no one can sell anything they make without money being taken from other areas. or needing to buy licences hat are so hard to get you my as well not bother.

    Ive never failed at anything ive cared abut doing, carpentry, Dance I even raised £60,000 for cancer charities. Yet i sit here making little to no progress, because there are no jobs where i live. How infuriating it is to know your own potential is being wasted because you dont have the funds to simply live somewhere else. Still its only a waste and no progress because money needs to be the name of he game. The music i can create is beyond anything iv heard, yet because f copywrite issues DJing is so hard to make money on that its a joke where i live. I play piano, drumms, gutar and sing, Rap, Mix and play bass. i tought my self all of this, i have done all of the above, and i am clearly not stupid. so why am i poor? am I of low value to society. am i worth less to you all than a traffic warden?

  • Dudley,

    But you haven’t indicated how you would guard against the ten percent predators, and 1% high level predators in our population. Whatever system you set up can be exploited. Who decides what to dole out and why on earth do you think you can trust them?

    Maxxing our ability to solve problems (creating wealth of all sorts for all and being able to challenge existential threats that nature will ever confront us with) means maxxing our access to everybody’s talents, which in turn should mean lifting every child out of poverty and educating them accordingly. Healthy and savvy populations can better manage predators and exploiters. Note in the US how its is poor white folk who are the most manipulated and with the least rational view of how the world works. (Black folk know all about slavery and vote rationally in their own better interests (80% Democrat) by contrast.)

    Again, the problems to solve are not mere tokens of value but how we deal with the pathological and pre-pathological parasites and the devastating stupidity of too many folk open to manipulation. Until you address this fundamental problem of a cognitively diverse population and propose solutions or at least mitigations to it you are solving no necessary problems.

  • I dont get paid for helping the elderly when im out and about, i dont get paid for holding doors for overencumbered people, and i dont get paid for the smiles i bring. but some police were once paid an hourly wage to brake my mothers leg and stuff her into a police van because she was drunk. people are being paid at the moment to make my life deliberatly aukward. Keeping track of it all is impsible when the government soes so much dissinformation that none of you can see how good things could be.

    Any comments on your 6 mill valuations yet people? i kep bringing it up and still nothing. it took me 25 yars to figure it out. so ill be patient…


  • Dudley, when I talk of “solving problems” I intend by it all aspects of our creativity. A new composition is solving a problem of under-stimulation for someone. Fixing my lunch is solving a problem. “Solving problems” is “doing something valuable”, brushing the street, inventing the brush, inventing the job of street cleaner, inventing the litter bin…

  • “I dont get paid for helping the elderly when im out and about”
    I think we are coming to the point where not only is a universal basic income required but helping the old and infirm is rewarded. Paid for wearing “Can I help?” badges.

    We will be entering a post industrial age where manufacturing and agriculture will require no human assistance and even many skilled jobs will be replaced by smart systems and we will need to take care our burgeoning old and the new much higher standards for our children. Caring for the elderly and involvement in curating the experience of the next generation is where we need to direct our investment of human resources. Charging manufacturing companies for the right to access rich and demanding consumers and funding the state thereby and using the state as the democratically moderated engine to administer a UBI and reward all for their part time jobs as caring civil servants, helping the elderly, acting as teaching assistants, keeping the neighbourhood  looking good, sponsoring art of all sorts, like in the times of the New Deal…

    This is what we must be imagining. Tokens of value are not evil. It is the lack of care and downright indifference to how we use our created wealth that is evil.



  • @Dudley #75

    I play piano, drumms, gutar and sing, Rap, Mix and play bass.

    Have you therefore tried to market your musical talent?

    Having a talent for doing something can be a very precious thing, and you should really be trying to exploit it! J.K. Rowling was once jobless, but she had a talent for creative writing!

  • you diddnt even read it phill. elect people with high IQ not Good  PR

    then you should have people with experience to decide how best to go forward and apply the knowlage. every law re evaluated every person having to re think whats truly important. you all want the world to change but you are the world. YOU NEED TO CHANGE. we tried things your way. this system created us. it creates the evil people. The system I’m takng about wont generate these people in the first place. so stop talking in circals because frankly its boring.

    your worth 6 mill your way. my pay your pricelss.

    But the world isnt ready for the solutions i have. because its full of people who cant see, but think they can.

    Ill be honest i wrote all of this because i wanted some top minds to see it. not to discuss the clearest answer to our probems with the general public. If i could just talk to all the worlds leaders directly i could just show you all a world with no bulshit.

    The hard truth is that there will have to be another big, fake, war before you all die out and the people that rise from the ash will think twice.

    Why are there no lie detecters in a court room?

    Why mak threats when you can make space ships together to get the funk away from the people you dont agree with?

    Id much rather live in an orbital habitat than where i live now. then i could blast music and o one would get bothered by it. Ive even designed one and thought of a way to build it in space with very low cost and low pollution aswell. self sustaining echosystem, night day cycle, solar energy. and it could be your own world. but this dsent exsist. because you all want you petty consumor cancer creating deathratlle of a society instead. people only let it get this bad because most of them thought god would save them after and itd all be fine. you will live nd die in a world created by jesus. for you its the year jesus + 2018 its pathetic.

  • Dudley


    Please let me recommend to you the book Creating Freedom by Raoul Martinez. In it you will find much ammunition to use in the charge against the parasitic rich.


    If you want to find out where the hyper-selfish thinking of money men is rooted (apart from say the a lame-brain libertarianism, for which read up on Ayn Rand) look at that epitome of Scrooge and hater of society James McGill Buchanon. He is the architect of that most dire of kleptocracies, the USA.

    Democracy in Chains  by Nancy McLean.

  • Dudley,


    “If i said ill pay you £10,000 a day to sit at home and say “Dudley is right” you would bloody do it”

    Nope. I work in eco-tech because I want to. I like getting out of bed and thinking I am working on our greatest existential threat. I could get far greater rewards, but increasingly I see people choosing intellectual reward. Slavery is slavery. Greed, however, is particular to a subset of folks.

    “elect people with high IQ”

    Hell, no!!! That’s not the specification at all!

    “we tried things your way”

    Not mine. Many here have their own ideas for radical change.

  • Dudley,

    Psychopaths and the pre-psychopathic are the product of genes not culture. They lack the all important empathy that makes our mutuality work and hold together our cognitively diverse societies. Lacking empathy they work solely for themselves lacking the visceral motor for that empathetic concern for the consequent travails of others.

    Decent early education can identify the trait in the young and mitigate it somewhat, as we are starting to learn. One of the virtues of having lower empathy is the fact that some moral situations can be judged with greater benefits to all. This is why leaders of countries and companies are often drawn from those who rate highly on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory.

    The high PPI individual when faced with the trolley problem (to actively cause the death of  one person to save five others) more often chooses the lives of five, where we more viscerally empathetic cannot bring ourselves to take a life. High PPI individuals are some sort of resource for us but governments and companies need very careful structuring to rein in their self serving natures.


    It is not the poor that are always with us (we can fix that), but the high PPI greedy. And that’s tough.

  • Dudley

    Ill be honest i wrote all of this because i wanted some top minds to see it. not to discuss the clearest answer to our probems with the general public. If i could just talk to all the worlds leaders directly i could just show you all a world with no bulshit.

    You are communicating your extreme frustration with the system as it exists now and I don’t see much disagreement with your complaints. Nothing wrong with venting, I do it all the time here, but now, I’d be interested to hear from you on some solid rational ideas on how to ameliorate these very daunting problems.


    The hard truth is that there will have to be another big, fake, war before you all die out and the people that rise from the ash will think twice.

    Dudley, this  stuff is not ok. I feel your frustration coming through the computer screen but let’s raise the bar on this exchange. Let’s refine these ideas. Don’t imagine that we’re against you. Phil has recommended some excellent reading resources. We want to know how you feel about those ideas. Ever read anything by Bernie Sanders? What do you think of his plan?


    Come on Dudley. Give us some real meat now. You’re blowing off steam and I agree with you but I’m so sad to tell you, Star Trek will never be real life. If it was, I’d have signed up decades ago. I fancy myself a Deanna Troi, gorgeous empath in perfect spandex uniform.


  • Dudley


    you diddnt even read it phill. elect people with high IQ not Good  PR

    I think you should know that high IQ is no guarantee of reason based rational political leaders. Plenty of psychopaths have high IQs and plenty of people with all sorts of mental illness have high IQs. It’s not high IQ that will solve our problems. It’s a group of features that makes for good leadership that’s needed. High IQ in leadership certainly doesn’t hurt but when I think of all the features of a good leader it’s not at the top of the list.


    We can discuss those qualities of good leadership too. It’s a topic that interests me greatly.

  • Milooshea  #76


    You raise a very important point about the “bad news” of climate change. But I would counter offer that Science and Technology offer the single most consistent supply of good news of any sector.

    Sadly, good news is no news. If it bleeds it leads. Worse, vested interests subvert the great mitigations science can make to climate change. The rate of change that a technocracy like China can achieve is astonishing. They make more electric cars than the rest of the world combined. They have open arms to Elon Musk and GM. They make more and install more solar and windpower, have energy storage schemes ten times the size of the US and invest 40% more in the smart infrastructure to hold it all together. Yet over here we get the negative accounts of China’s former state as the major coal user, the cost of new technology to implement, all from vested interests in old technology.


    We hear lurid accounts of the costs of mitigating new technology but because of the 2008 Great Bank Robbery, literally $trillions of US costs in lost trade and simple hand outs to bankers who didn’t know where the next line of coke was coming from were incurred. This amount would handsomely fix this problem and catapult the US back into the 21st century technologies that are currently slipping through its fingers.


    The problem with climate change I propose is not science and its bad news of a big problem, but its good news of how to fix it with existing technology and new investment, and its true enemies, old money protecting old investments.


    The Chinese love science. They’ll save the world (though it’ll be bad for a generation or two for poor and exposed nations) and they get to eat America’s lunch.


  • Ollie,

    Indeed, fast trades in anything are an attempt to trick value out of another person. It does not represent investment which can be honourable. Taxing trades is a way of taking value disproportionately out of fast, frequent, non-investing trades, is low cost to administer and should happen.

    Money is not, however, evil and to think it so is to miss who is.

  • Phil #89

    My evil on evil was the trading of,as the first, and adding tax the other evil. If money is evil then so is bartering. Otherwise we are just gelada baboons grazing on our own little patch chatting to no one in particular


  • Ollie,

    I could have been more explicit. Buying dollars ahead of when you may need them to purchase dollar-based components in a years time, say, if you are a manufacturer, is one way to better ensure you can guarantee a price to your customer in a years time.

    This creates certainty and irons out volatility in the system. Investing in dollars ahead of time, may cost you more but allows you to be a reliable and still profitable supplier. Insurance may seem like a scam but intelligent risk sharing can be real risk mitigation. Fast trades are simple gambling and bring no associate value.

    Just seen your post…my bad.

  • Phil #91


    Is there no other way to solve that problem, like ordering a few years in advance  and purchase pending quality? The system hangs in the air like a nuclear deterrent and can be just as damaging as a nuclear strike.

  • Ollie


    Pre-ordering doesn’t protect you from exchange rate fluctuations, though a seller might carry that risk (if you were a biiig customer) and charge you for it. He might well insure his risk in a reciprocal manner.

    Buying and holding stock is capital intensive and limits your ability to take new business, though you might be able to borrow against 250 tonnes of copper in your possession. Doesn’t work so well with some foodstuffs.

    Taxes are virtuous, not evil. They empower the state to implement services, compassion, one day a UBI and ease us into an entirely different way of working as we become post industrial, perhaps with a mix of state and personal “jobs” and activities, the latter being conventionally money making.

    A tax on all trades is low cost to implement, needing no testing and of itself will suppress the small margin trades that constitute the bulk of  zero-sum, financial gambling. Less frequent trades will tend to be considered, higher return and virtuous investments enabling non zero-sum, value-adding enterprises.

  • Trump calls Tillerson lazy and dumb as a rock. Says the man who refuses to understand how tariffs work and spends most of his time golfing or watching tv. Projecting much Donny?

  • Phil #93

    I have no objection to taxing. Sorry if I gave that impression. It is taxing an already dodgy system that is morally wrong for me. I understand the arguments for and against and trying to think it through, I keep ending up with the main culprit being grown, which can be interpreted, in some cases, as greed. This driver seems to negate a lot of moral crossover. It seems me that we need to work with what we can afford rather than borrow for the future with growth. At least it seems that way to me.

  • Trump started his tariff war with China because of his crazy perception that a balance of trade deficit is the USA somehow being taken advantage of. In reality it’s the natural effect of a rich country with expensive manufacturing buying more than they sell to a poor country with cheap manufacturing. However his tariffs have had a disastrous effect and the reverse one that he intended. Even with a 25% tariff markup Chinese goods are still cheap for American consumers so they keep buying them. In fact they are buying more than ever. On the other hand American soybeans and pork with a 25% tariff markup are unaffordable for Chinese consumers so they just went elsewhere, to Brazil, Argentina and Canada.

    In Aug, Sept and Oct this year American exports to China were $9.3, $9.8 and $9.1 billion. In the same three months in 2017 they were $10.8, $10.0 and $13.0 billions. The same 3 months imports from China in 2018 were $47.9, $50.0 and $52.2 billions. In 2017 they were $45.8, $45.4 and $48.2 billions.

    Imports have carried on going up. Exports have fallen dramatically. The trade deficit is now even worse. Nice one Donny.

  • Ollie,


    Investment and insurance are the very opposite of borrowing from the future. It is paying now with the prospect of improving the future. I depend on people investing in my good ideas to facilitate what I hope will be virtuous change.

  • I’m aware that I am overdue reporting back on

    “Inferior” Angela Saini. How science got Women wrong.

    I’m still wading through it. Its an excellent and interesting account of the history of the issues but I can’t help feeling she is straw manning (sic) Simon Baron Cohen somewhat, whose evidence for difference is substantial and growing, but in the light of neuro-constructivism is potentially evidence of the near permanent wiring of very, very early enculturation. Nor is he excluding this possibility in many of his accounts. Twin studies cannot epidemiologically distinguish very, very early enculturation from genetic influence.

    I will finish but work and other books hi-jack my attention, particularly

    How Emotions Are Made, Lisa Feldmann Barrett

    exactly the evidence for early enculturation having profound differentiating outcomes. Neuroconstructivism est arrivé.

  • @Phil #87,

    Indeed the “China is the big problem & India” line is constantly tried over here (in Australia) by our politicians.  “We may as well not do anything because China is building x – coal power stations”.  Well actually they cancelled quite a few not so long ago and as you say they are doing much more than we are to put up wind and solar.  We also are currently worlds 3rd or 4th largest coal exporter world wide.  I wonder what happens to the price of a commodity if the worlds 4th largest supplier suddenly decided to leave theirs in the ground.  I wonder what percentage of the Worlds excess C02 (from coal and gas fired power stations) floating about in our atmosphere comes from Australian coal and gas.  Certainly much more I suspect than the tiny percentage of impact of global warming our Australian Politicians like to claim we contribute to the world through our domestic per capita use.   We’re a bit like a nuclear arms dealer claiming no responsibility when the bomb they sold is used on a city “We only sold it to them, we didn’t tell them to use it!”.

    On behalf of thinking Australians I’m sorry we keep offering our coal to the world market for a quick buck at your expense.  Some of us are trying every election to get sensible politicians in power.

    Meanwhile having sold our best solar technology to China we are now buying back our technology to put on our roof tops from China.  SIGH!




  • Recklesss,


    You may buy the solar panels from them, but the solar energy you people have is astonishing. Solar PV is still falling in price. Its a bit of refined sand on another bit of sand in a metal frame. The sun is the wealth in perpetuity.

    In a decade or so new solar PV technology should appear that will turn the industry on its head. You still have time to invest in a leadership position. (You are doing pretty well on graphene batteries for cars, which should end up being on all cars hybrid and EV whatever the primary energy source is.) InGaN heterojunctions are now a thing and I’m buying my first samples soon. These may create Solar PV with an efficiency of 70% not 25%. They are better suited to very high temperature use so can work with solar collectors, cheap mirror heliostats, in hot climates and at the coast cooperate with cheap desalination plants, using boiling sea water to temperature regulate the PV. This could be much cheaper than coal.


    The point of course about one time heavy polluters like China is the rate of change now, but then technocracies prepared to use science and lay plans covering decades to make money will beat luddite politicians of other countries every time.

  • Just started watching The Good Place on Netflix. Anyone watching it? So much going on with ethics at the heart of it. Love the script. Casting a woman as the main character with lines I would associate with a man starts the cleverness for me.

  • Reckless Monkey says:

    Indeed the “China is the big problem & India” line is constantly tried over here (in Australia) by our politicians.  “We may as well not do anything because China is building x – coal power stations”.  Well actually they cancelled quite a few not so long ago and as you say they are doing much more than we are to put up wind and solar.  We also are currently worlds 3rd or 4th largest coal exporter world wide.

    In November, 2018, Lazard found that not only are utility-scale solar and wind cheaper than fossil fuels, “[i]n some scenarios, alternative energy costs have decreased to the point that they are now at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation.” Overall, Lazard found “The low end levelized cost of onshore wind-generated energy is $29/MWh, compared to an average illustrative marginal cost of $36/MWh for coal. The levelized cost of utility-scale solar is nearly identical to the illustrative marginal cost of coal, at $36/MWh.

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates a “global LCOE for onshore wind [of] $55 per megawatt-hour, down 18% from the first six months of [2017], while the equivalent for solar PV without tracking systems is $70 per MWh, also down 18%.” Bloomberg does not provide its global public LCOEs for fossil fuels, but it notes in India they are significantly more expensive: “BNEF is now showing benchmark LCOEs for onshore wind of just $39 per MWh, down 46% on a year ago, and for solar PV at $41, down 45%. By comparison, coal comes in at $68 per MWh, and combined-cycle gas at $93.”

    The coal export business could take quite a knock if importers switch to renewables after squeezing down the coal price for a while, because of cost savings!


  • Olgun


    Love that show! Phil and I have mentioned it before if memory serves. I haven’t started the latest season yet but looking forward to it. Great characters. At first glance it seemed shallow but glad I stuck with it.

  • Ollie, Laurie

    I had to rush to the end of season 3.

    I was getting worried that it had lost its mojo. It hadn’t. My daughter and I agreed it finally delivered the moral goods on religion…..

  • Laurie


    Wish I had seen that conversation. Flicked past the show so many times. That cover is either rubbish or it is very clever. Can’t make up my mind which. It didn’t attract me.

  • Now, at last, after the mid-terms the catastrophe of lost net neutrality…


    Despite polls showing massive public oppositionto the regulatory rollback and outcry fromnumeroustech companies, telecoms that potentially stand to make a lot of money from less regulation werevery much in favor of it. FCC commissioners voted last year to eliminate the rules in a 3-2 vote that fellsquarely along party lines(with three Republicans in support and two Democrats in opposition), though attorneys general in 22 states and Washington, DC, as well as consumer groups and web company Mozilla, aresuing to reverse the decision.


    might be re-tackled with this new evidence of gross deception involving millions of fake emailed “opinions” in the lead up to it…

    Again politicised US institutions corrupt public services. Trump’s appointee to the FCC Ajit Pai seems in the middle of this.

  • That White house revolving door just keeps right on turning, as even the deplorables cannot work with Trump for very long!
    The White House revolving door: Who’s gone?

    Donald Trump’s administration has had a very high turnover – with senior officials quitting, being fired or getting eased out at a record pace.
    Here is a run-down of what they did, and why they left, starting with the most recent.

    John Kelly, Chief of Staff – December 2018
    The retired Marine general was initially nominated to oversee Homeland Security before Mr Trump promoted him to chief of staff in July 2017, replacing Reince Priebus.

    However, on 8 December Mr Trump announced that Gen Kelly would leave his post by the end of the year.

    By December 2018 his relationship with the president was said to have deteriorated, with some reports saying the pair were no longer on speaking terms.

    Earlier in the year Mr Kelly was forced to deny that he had called Mr Trump an “idiot” after the quote was included in a book by the veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward.




  • OK when i said hi IQ Not PR i ment to say that most of the population are think mindless drones that just vote for shiney faces. IQ was my way of saying we need people who can at leat grasp the basics. and I agree Its not the rite use of the term. As for reading sources I will see if the audio books of these sugestions exsist. but im so dyslexic i can properly grasp a book by reading it.

    I dont think the mega ritch are pssycopaths. and i think we all have alot more controle over our minds than anyone fully realises. for example i have had to turn off my empathy at times in my life. or else id have gone mad. took years to train myself into it again but its more than doable. I wasnt a psychopath tho. i feel these lables we put on the mind of the unique indiviual to be so braud, that they are less than helpfull. if the placeebo effect is a measured occurence. then surly nameing your mental issues will only serve to empwoer them. In short people hide behind their issues and there are many companies that make money of “treating” them, so id say its the people who raised them and the people arround them mixed with the society that allows any genetic predispositons to flurrish. in my world that wouldent happen because everything and everyone would be different. Understand ballence, greed would have no real medium that everyone felt every day all the time. everyone would be provided for. and have the time to help eachother and understand that theres enough to go arround.

    the problem is that everyone is in this odd trance where they will just beleive something because its on TV or because Some god sais so. and then theres the people (lots on here probably) who have taken 1 step on a massive road of realisation and feel they know so much that they just stop looking and dont consider thinking outside the box.

    Life is full of hard choices, people are being killed to keep money where it is. people are going to have to die for us to more forwards. i hope it will just happen from old age. but to be honest you only need to look at how fast the super markets empty when the snow hits to know whats coming soon.

    And phill £10,000 a day would go along way in the world if you chose to sit there and funnel it into something you thought would help. distributing solar pannels to everyone ? 😛

  • Dudley,


    Come back after a few “Audibles”. You’ll be amazed that there are people out there that do that thinking stuff also. What is more they know shit.

  • Dudley,


    i feel these lables we put on the mind of the unique indiviual to be so braud, that they are less than helpfull. if the placeebo effect is a measured occurence. then surly nameing your mental issues will only serve to empwoer them. In short people hide behind their issues and there are many companies that make money of “treating” them, so id say its the people who raised them and the people arround them mixed with the society that allows any genetic predispositons to flurrish. 

    What about dyslexia? Placebo effect? Issue to hide behind? A genetic condition that has been allowed to flourish?

  • And i would, but my audible library got wiped so im not sinking any more dosh into that :/


    not finding the feedback very thought provoking over here, dont think ill bother checking it again.


    If your forced to work to live, your living in a labour camp. All the wall are in your mind but they are there all the same. Constricted and molded from the earliest of ages, you beleive with honesty that you can see the world around you. Never the less the tools you use to make your decisions and form your oppinions are not your own, thus the fruits of your thought making are rotten. but this sweet fermentation blures your illusions making them seem all the more devout. And on it goes as you all teach your kids to listen to anyone older than them, put them on leads like dogs. lie to them to protect them… To many people are overweight, to many people are un educated, to many people think they know whats right but controdict themselves at every turn. and no one is willing to look at themselves and make a change. Richousness over a gross way of life in a society built on war and murder and kept in line by fear. Fear of banrupsy, homlesnes, disaproving peers, being locked away with a load of rapists and murdurers, being finedfor parking here but not there, fear of oher people. and 0 empathy all round. just people who pretend to know what it means. people who think just imagining what it wuldbe like is enough. true empathy takes a conection, to feel the emotions you know, as the other person feels them. When my fiancae broke her collar bone my shoilder hurt for months, stopped when she healed. and thats just the tip of the iceburg when you truly can empathise. so you can all read book that other people have read but all my knowlage comes from exsperiance. most of it horid. Ive been from low to high and back to the middle alredy. poor ritch now poor again. i kow the value of live because ive seen death and its cost. so look at my comments and posts, then look at the resonses. why do i bother? i should remeber what they say about lians and sheep.

    FYI having stayed at the Carlton club, im aware that “go read a book” translates to normall class as “on your bike” so you may want to kep that suggestion to yourself in future phill. Propper etiquette shows it to be rude.

  • It is, however, rude to endlessly strawman us.


     you all teach your kids to listen to anyone older than them, put them on leads like dogs. lie to them to protect them…

    How could you possibly know this? Do you think that behaviour likely of say American Atheists?


    Why might you imagine your thoughts are original? Cutting a Messianic figure among atheists may be counter productive. Un-evidenced proclamations may be not your best line of attack here.

    It is a courtesy to expand on where our own thoughts have greater evidence available, indeed where we might have got them from in the first place. Everyone here pretty much links to sources of evidence whenever it is available. It is one of the great virtues of this site.

    We are here because in one way or another we wish to break the status quo, are appalled at what we see and ultimately seek political weaponry for change. If you want to change minds, you will need to know where we are in our thinking, what errors you think those specifics represent and provide argument and evidence for change.

    Many people here have had various cognitive challenges. I put my hand up to some and write about them. Some of the folk here in its last ten years have had most clinical mental problems, depression, dyslexia, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar, autism spectrum, and two psychopaths, one clinical one just high-ish PPI, indeed several of us formed a social group outside of the site to be able to engage each other in these more private matters and broader discussions on science and politics.

    Any of us can have a good idea and we are generally happy to listen to new ideas and see them develop in the challenge.

  • Dudley,


    I see your comment “go read a book”, more clearly now.

    I did not mean any book I meant any or all of the four I had previously suggested and that you offered that listening was better for you which I took to mean you might “read” them. I apologise if it came over that way. I genuinely think you may be surprised at how many think neoliberalism, laissez faire free markets, libertarianism and such like are innately toxic. I recommended those four books precisely because I thought they would give you ammunition and would enable you to call on them as helpful resources.

    Me I can’t listen to books unless I can stop and backtrack often and easily. I need to think at least as much as I read and over each new presented idea, so I can stitch it together with existing materials. I can’t listen to live radio usefully except as headlines. My daughter has the same overload thing. I, at least, become an idiot in social situations because it is difficult to politely pause and rewind live people….

  • Phil

    Me I can’t listen to books…

    Interesting. For me, format depends on the degree of engagement I desire with the material. Fiction can be audio. Anything that I need intense engagement with, science mostly, I need the dead tree version. For best retention I need to highlight and take notes in the margins and notes in a notebook that I can review. All other subject matter can be dealt with adequately by E-book. I’m no good with organizing E-book content in my brain for further reference. I refer back to my books often for information and author references within them. It’s onerous to find any reference I want from E-books and audio – forget about it.

  • format depends on the degree of engagement I desire

    Absolutely, Laurie


    It is possible to convert Kindle content (if you download the AZW file format) to PDFs. This makes them easily searchable and copy and paste-able. I’ve done this once a while ago and I’m planning much more in future.

    A format designed for research from the get go would be awesome. It might be there is a greater risk of theft, so chunk sizes could be constrained, but there is also surely something that can be done for student use?

    Fiction is often easier for me in audio form, given the low density of information, though if I had a taste for some character or fact dense detective fiction I’d be sunk. I suspect I would could not manage In the Name of the Rose as an audio book. Much fiction though is better in audio form as my mind can wander…

    I love the radio, BBC R4 and R3, but once something interesting has been said I have to turn it off for several minutes. Thank goodness it comes with a pause button these days.

  • Last evening, I saw as story that it has been determined that Voyager II has left the solar system.  I could not help but think of Carl Sagan’s blue dot quotation.  Here is a link to a BBC story:  The instrument was launched in 1977, and it entered interstellar space in November 2018.  The enormity of space never ceases to amaze me.  The BBC story says that Voyage I will reach another star system in about 40,000 years (time flies when you’re having fun).  I wonder if human beings will be around to mark when one of the Voyager crafts enter another solar system.
    I would like to propose the beginning of a campaign to erect statutes of great scientists, not the least of which was Carl Sagan.  In the United States we put up statues to 19th century racists – although some are beginning to be brought down.  Why not celebrate great minds like Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, James Clark Maxwell, Albert Einstein, etc., etc., etc.  Maybe if we started celebrating such people, it would be one more bit of encouragement for children to study science and other STEM subjects.  I can imagine such monuments on courthouse squares, and on the lawns of schools, colleges and universities.      

  • Michael 100 says:
    Last evening, I saw as story that it has been determined that Voyager II has left the solar system.

    NASA is making a point of NOT making this claim, but stupid sensationalist journalists keep repeating it!

    The Voyagers have not “left the Solar System”.

    They have crossed the Heliopause and left the Solar atmosphere.

    They have years to go before they even reach Kuiper Belt!

  • Alan, you may be correct, but I just went to, and found the following information, dated December 10, 2018, what follows, is an excerpt from the NASA page: 

    “For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun. … Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.

    “The most compelling evidence of Voyager 2’s exit from the heliosphere came from its onboard Plasma Science Experiment (PLS), an instrument that stopped working on Voyager 1 in 1980, long before that probe crossed the heliopause. Until recently, the space surrounding Voyager 2 was filled predominantly with plasma flowing out from our Sun. This outflow, called the solar wind, creates a bubble – the heliosphere – that envelopes the planets in our solar system. The PLS uses the electrical current of the plasma to detect the speed, density, temperature, pressure and flux of the solar wind. The PLS aboard Voyager 2 observed a steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles on Nov. 5. Since that date, the plasma instrument has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere. …”


    Michael 100 says:

    Alan, you may be correct,

    I seem to be out of date on this, as the current information suggests they have passed over the Kuiper Belt. Sorry about the wrong information.

    However, this does not alter the fact about them NOT having left the Solar system, as they have not yet traversed the Oort Cloud!

    Voyager 1, the fastest and farthest of the interplanetary space probes currently leaving the Solar System, will reach the Oort cloud in about 300 years and would take about 30,000 years to pass through it.
    However, around 2025, the radioisotope thermoelectric generators on Voyager 1 will no longer supply enough power to operate any of its scientific instruments, preventing any exploration by Voyager 1. The other four probes currently escaping the Solar System either are already or are predicted to be non-functional when they reach the Oort cloud; however, it may be possible to find an object from the cloud that has been knocked into the inner Solar System.




  • Trump is the master slight-of-hand artist.  There is an evil method to his madness.  The real damage that he’s been doing is not making a laughing stock out of the United States at the United Nations and elsewhere – which is bad enough, and which would ruin a normal politician.  He has the country talking about his threat to shut down the government over his insane idea to build a wall to keep out people seeing asylum, or his nonsensical dribble about “beautiful clean coal.”  That list is seemingly endless, but    while everyone is paying attention to his antics, the real damage is being done by his henchmen who are destroying the government.  I just saw a story on DCReport, which says:
    “The Trump administration has quietly shuttered a government-run study seeking a cure for HIV because Christian conservatives object to research using human fetal tissue. The move comes while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducts an audit on the use of fetal tissue in research as it determines whether to continue funding such research.”  (my emphasis)
    The full story is found at  This is a perfect example of why religion and science are incompatible.  And, it goes a long way to explain why the Christians love trump so much – he’s as phony as they are, but he is totally on board with their agenda.  Every day, there is more evidence of the damage done by Trump and his Christian cronies.  Once again, I recommend David Cay Johnston’s book – It’s Even Worse Than You Think.     

  • I just read that George Cardinal Pell was convicted on the charges of sexually abusing children.  Apparently he’ll face more charges in another trial early next year.

  • Thanks Phil and Alan for your input about solar.  First chance I’ve had to get back to the forum in a few days as I’ve been pretty busy with end of year stuff at school.

    I was listening to an economist Bjorn Lomborg on a podcast discussing priorities in relation to Global Warming compared to others.  He basically concluded that doing too much would have less impact on human well being than other things like dealing with tuberculous etc.  Have you guys heard of him before or are you familiar with his arguments.   I could help thinking well for one solar and wind are now cheaper than coal so any new power being put in would be madness to put in coal.  Also I couldn’t help thinking of our oceans acidifaction and so forth and of course he is an economist and I don’t trust them anywhere near as much as a scientist in terms of risk (tend to not consider the whole argument).  Anyway anyone familiar with this guy?


  • Hi Reckless,


    Lomborg is an old foe, particularly egregious early on, displaying much scientific ignorance. He has “improved” but still defensively, so he looks less wrong.

    His latest ignorance centres around not understanding how investment works and may fail to work. There are not choices to be made between smart grids or TB mitigation. We will be carbon free for reasons of reliability, sustainability and political security. All investments in renewables also lifts the value of earlier such investments, a tipping point will be reached and the laggards will experience great losses and hardship.


    It is not about using government funds, but governments fixing the financial institutions to access lost capital, lost to fatuous gambling, or simply sequestered out of the economy. It is political in needing to Drain the Swamp of Crony Capitalism of old money protecting old/dying investments.


    Rising sea levels are our most immediate threats with the latest loss figures from Greenland and Antarctic Cap melts. Expect big rises in dysentery and disease around the Indian subcontinent.

  • Dec 13, 2018 at 5:53 am

    phil rimmer says:

    Rising sea levels are our most immediate threats with the latest loss figures from Greenland and Antarctic Cap melts.

    Yep! We just have to keep spreading the scientific message!

  • Thanks guys,

    What I suspected,  I was very suspicious of what he was suggesting to stop global warming in its tracks.  What was he suggesting would be required for this?  So at this point clearly no one should be arguing to put in a new coal fired power station, it’s cheaper now to do RE.  Over the next 10-15 years x number of coal fired power stations will shut down all of these obviously should be replaced with cheaper generation.  I don’t think many conservatives unless they are brutally dishonest would argue that more expensive new coal fired power stations should replace old cola fired power station AGW aside.  So I didn’t know what the assumptions he was dealing with were?  He was mentioning lifting power in the third world.  I always suspected that much more good would be done with small RE in small villages combined with natural gas from livestock could lift much of the problems in the third world and not require massive power infrastructure and massive centralised coal fired power stations.  If India is pursuing massive centralised power now, it strikes me they will end up with more expensive power in the long run cause massive local damage to the environment and of course greater problems in the mid to long term but I was not familiar enough with his work to know any of his base assumptions.

    So Ta


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