- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I think you meant declension, not conjugation.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 24, 1999 at 13:51:40:

In Reply to: Is that a 1st or 2nd conjugation verb? posted by Frenchy on December 24, 1999 at 10:26:33:

: : (I note Frenchy has now skipped a number of points I raised; I take it you cede them to me, Frenchy, since you don't seem to have an answer...?)

: Hold on Ace; NATIONAL SOCIALIST = NAZI. How does that translate to capitalist? The NAZI's were left of center.

No they weren't.

Hitler himself said that "The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood."

In other words, the only collective group Hitler thought desirable was the Aryan race, which is why he tried to get rid of all 'untermensch'.

That's not Socialism any more than Vladimir Zhirinovsky's 'Liberal Democrat' party is liberal or democratic.

If you care to examine the evidence, it should be pretty clear that Hitler was a creature of the Far Right.

: Star Wars; Well, your source and mine disagree. Did your source clue you in on the intentional inaccuracies built into the earlier Anti Missile like Nike and the reasons they were put there?

I'm not talking about anything as old as that; THAAD, HOE, LEAP, ERIS and ERINT; none of them achieved anything like reliability in testing.

Secondly, the whole 'Star Wars' programme missed a fundamental point; the easiest and most accurate way of delivering a nuclear weapon to a target is by truck; and no amount of anti-missile defences can counter that - that's what Chet was talking about.

: Remember the hub-bub the F-117 caused when it went operational? There were rumors, but no one knew anything for sure, least of all Saddam.

Ah yes. the highly-expensive don't-leave-it-out-in-the-rain Stealth weaponry; said to give a radar signature equivalent to a bird.

Except, of course, that birds don't fly in perfect formation at 400 mph; bit of an oversight, that. To use the supposedly-invisible Stealth weaponry, you still have to wipe out all the radars first; thus nullifying the major reason for their existence. When the radars aren't taken out, then you get situations like the one in Kosova...

And even then, it's only radar that Stealth affects; the fighters can still be detected by the interference they cause in FM and TV signals; see this recent article in New Scientist and China's recent announcement that they had developed a similar system to counter Stealth tech.

: Think that might be a good strategy to use in the case of ICBM's?

But as was pointed out, ICBMs are only one way to deploy WMD.

: : : Are you saying that the paradigm that we accept today as normal is the same paradigm that was accepted in the 12th century? the 5th? the 18th? There have been no changes?

: : In patterns of consumption, there have been no serious changes, yes.

: That's silly; we consume a hell of a lot more today then in the 18th century because we can afford it because that's the result of free markets.

Is one dollar more than ten dollars?

Of course it is.

Is ten dollars fundamentally different from one dollar?

No; they're both forms of currency.

: : The pattern of consumption has been of treating the natural world as something to exploit for useful materials; in the 12th Century, they didn't know about the environment as such, but there were few enough people not to overtax the Earth's self-healing properties.

: The Earth's self-healing properties? Yeah, I guess that's accurate if your also willing to say that the earth also engages in self-destructive actions too. Floods, fires, earthquakes, mudslides. All of which may kill thousands of innocent people.

Not so. The biosphere, as a whole, acts according to Le Chatelier's Principle; viz, it moves equilibrium to compensate for forces altering the equilibrium. If you deforest an area, the rate of forest growth in that area is accelerated, nutrients permitting; the system moves to compensate for the loss.

However, like most equilibrium reactions, there is a buffer zone in which this happens; go beyond the buffer zone and the system cannot right itself.

If you cut down trees and plant new ones, then eventually you will have new trees.

If you cut down trees and use the ex-forest land to grow grass for cattle, the nutrients from the forest go into the cattle; and are not put back into the soil; they are consumed by humans, and the nutrients are gone from the soil. To continue using ex-forest land after the first 3 years or so, you need large amounts of fertilizer; especially in areas like Amazonia where the soil isn't great to begin with. Eventually, after about 10 years or so, there are no longer enough nutrients left in the soil to make it economically worthwhile growing grass for pasture; at which point the ground is left to go to waste; and the soil is particularly fine, which means that it desertifies very easily.

In this second example, the trees cannot grow back, because the equilibrium has been pushed too far; the self-healing limit has been passed.

Floods, fires and earthquakes are natural phenomena; they are not destructive or creative as a whole; while a forest fire can kill off a large number of animals, there are sections of the biosphere that rely on periodic fires for survival. It's only 'self-destructive' if you see humans as the prime motive for the biosphere's existence.

Of course, that's not to say that humanity can't affect the incidence of climatic extremes; if you raise the thermal equilibrium, you raise the number of high-energy events; as per the Boltzmann distribution I cited previously.

: : If the average human requires 1,500 calories per day to survive in reasonable health, then a world population requires 450 gigacalories to survive; obviously a world population ten times that needs ten times as much output to survive. It's simple maths.

: Yeah, but it's still the same predictions that were made last century by Hobbes (I think it was Hobbes) when he said that the population growth would outstrip the earth's capacity to feed the additional mouths.

(It was Malthus (1766-1834), actually, hence the adjective 'Malthusian' - Hobbes was around from 1588 to 1679.)

: So what happens? Some smart ass comes along and discovers fertilizers. Another smart ass comes along and invents tractors. Somebody else comes along and figures out how to make wheat grow in winter.
: See a pattern here?

Yes; everyone has automatically assumed from the start that population will continue increasing and tried to respond to that. The accepted paradigm is that population will increase; and each generation has instituted stop-gap measures to try and cope with the increase.

Intensive farming is merely the latest form; and the effects of intensive farming are so destructive to the environment that if present consumption patterns continue;

- 2/3 of the Earth's population will live in 'water-stressed' conditions by the year 2025

- some 20% of the worlds drylands are affected by human-induced soil degradation, putting the livelihoods of more than 1,000 million people at risk.

(Source: UN GEO-2000 report, published last summer)

The innovations you cited have done nothing to challenge the basic paradigm; that population is increasing.

To use the old smoking analogy again, it's like bringing out lower-tar cigarettes; they may be slightly less bad for your health, but they don't solve the paradigm problem; which is nicotine addiction; and if you raise your consumption of low-tar cigarettes to provide the nicotine hit you need, then you're harming yourself just as much as you were with the old high-tar cigarettes.

: : As for the democracy bit; the present government has never had less of an influence over peoples' lives; the real bosses are the corporates now; and guess how many of them are democratically elected...?
: Marxist rhetoric. Sheer claptrap.

Yet again, Frenchy uses abuse rather than trying to answer the painful question.

Are you really trying to say that corporates have no influence over your life?

: : Of course it is. The formula for biscuit-dunking wasn't previously known; now it is. It's certainly research and discovery.

: That's rich. Well, I guess your right. By the way, what is the formula?

Read it here.

: : : that's some shill w/ a phd who managed to scam the taxpayers out of some hard earned dough. Blame idiot buereaucrats. Or idiot college administrators.

: : Actually, if you notice, the biscuit-dunker was sponsored by a company; McVities.

: Hey! That sounds like market research! That is legitmate research! As long as the corporations spend their own loot, I don't care.

Weren't you saying originally that science and technology were supposed to be beneficial?

My response was " If you really think that the research these worthies did has the power to be 'beneficial', then you have a somewhat diluted idea of what 'beneficial research' is..."

I repeat the question; do you really think that this research was a valuable asset to humanity as a whole?

: : (Another previous IgNobel winner was sponsored by Kellogg's after doing research on how to make flakes stay crunchy after adding milk.)

: : Will you now admit that not all research is beneficial?

: Yeah, I guess it might be after all, to those companies.

And if it is beneficial to those companies but harmful to the rest of the world, Frenchy?

: : : You show there is still a use for pedants.

: : You asked; I told you. You can find any of this information yourself; I'm not stopping you; just go to a search engine and look around.

: Of course a skilled pedant wouldn't pedanticize unless he were asked. Otherwise he'd be a bore.

So you are admitting my original point; that these inventions are not recent?

I have to assume this, in the lack of any counterargument on your part that holds water.

: : Not at all. In fact, the tribes of Papua, New Guinea are every bit as creative as Europeans; but Papua has no metals worth speaking of and very little that could be used as farmland. Consider what happened to the first Europeans that arrived; they died out while the natives continued to prosper. All races are equal in creativity; it's just that the environment shapes the possible responses of the inhabitants.

: So, I guess that the widely known lack of natural materials in Africa account for the lack of cathedrals (even if they would've been built to the Zebra God), aqueducts, roads to compare with the Romans, sailing and navigation discoveries and a couple of other things.

: Besides, I read somewhere that there were some African civilizations that did build pretty impressive structures, they just weren't anything like what was created in Europe.

Yeah. They were elephant dikes; built to keep elephants away from the crops. Eminently practical.

: : In contrast, America is angled north-south and its climate varies widely according to latitude; thus preventing easy migration (also preventing the easy spread of technology, since little migration results in little exchange of ideas).

: Sure, that's why the Bearing Sea land bridge couldn't be crossed by the Chinese and why they couldn't eventually migrate down to Tierra Del Fuego.

I said easy migration; not all migration. The spread of people down the length of America took thousands of years; whereas the spread of ideas and pathogens throughout Asia took a few years due to the relative ease of travelling.

: : : : : Condidering that those civilizations had lived there for so long I'd have to say they died out from their own ignorance.

: : : : Not so; see above. They died out mainly from environmental limitations and infighting over environmental resources.

: Yeah, like I said, ignorance.

Says the man who lives in the belief that humanity can always beat the natural forces of the planet he lives on...

: : You really believe that? - with a repair bill from last year's extreme climate events adding up to $60 billion; and a bigger one on the way from this year?

: If the weather causes damage, you fix it. That's what insurance companies are for. Which is another pretty nifty invention, I may add.

Insurance companies go broke if they have to pay out too much; which is why you can't get earthquake insurance in California.

Basically, there are areas prone to natural disaster; sea coasts are a good example. If you really believe that weather damage is economic to fix, may I suggest you go work for an insurance company in Florida...?

: : (extreme climate events; storms, hurricanes, cyclones and the like.)

: And earthquakes, let's not forget earthquakes.

They're not *climate* events; they're *geological* events.

: : : : (That, and the fact that the Spanish inflicted genocide on them because they weren't Christians, of course...)

: Yeah, and also to snatch their gold.

Genocide is genocide; and it was the priest that gave the orders at Cajamarca, even if Pizarro wanted to obey.

: : Be careful, Frenchy; are you really trying to say that the white European Caucasian is the highest form of humanity? - because you're edging dangerously close to it.

: I don't know if 'highest form' is the way that I'd put it, but yeah, especially in terms of advances in political science, economics, science and technology, etc.

: I'm not at all quesy about stating the obvious. Feel uncomfortable about that? Don't want to admit those things yourself?

To me, the highest form of science and technology is one that can be sustained. You might be able to go 200 mph in a car if you push the engine to breaking point; but you can get much more use out of it if you treat the engine with some care.

: : : : That said, the idea that Western society is any less brutal is also bunk.

: : : As long as millions of peoples from around the world keep applying for visas at American Embassies I'll just have to take that with a grain of salt.

: : So you refuse to admit that the US Air Force dropped 539,129 tonnes of bombs on Cambodia in the years 1969-1973; that they somehow didn't kill 700,000 civilians in the process?

: Smooth seque into Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyite/Maoism.

Not at all. The point I'm making is that the US (the highest society in your view) committed genocide on civilians during our lifetimes.

In what way is genocide committed with B-52s any better than genocide committed with spears?

: : For certain specific values of 'success'; and over a timescale of 70 years, not 3000.

: Well, it's a start, no? And it shoots the example of Easter Island in the ass too.

"It has been often said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high grade metallic ore gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." - Professor Fred Hoyle

(who may have had some funny cosmological ideas, but was bang on the money here.)

If humanity achieves a technological democracy for the space of 200 years and then collapses due to resource exhaustion we have failed. Game over.

The society on Easter Island reached its highest point just as it was exhausting its mineral reserves. To the average Easter Islander, life then would have been at an all-time high standard; until someone cut down the last trees; and then society simply collapsed.

: : (snip yet more stuff that Frenchy has avoided answering. No comment, Frenchy...?)

: I don't know, what did you snip?

Read the previous messages in the thread; it's all there.

: : Perhaps you'd like to go and tell that to the Nike workforce in Saigon; who provide the West with trainers; or the Keyhinge employees in Da Nang who provide Disney and McDonald's with injection-moulded toys; or any one of a number of people who are not free, because you are defending the right of the rich countries to exploit the poor countries.

: Another real smooth segue.
: Look, it's not exploitation if both parties agree to the terms of the contract. If there is oppression or lack of freedom in a particular state, you should hold the state responsible, not a corporation. That's just muddled thinking.

How meaningful is 'agreement' forced at effective gunpoint, Frenchy?

As part of the US withdrawal from Vietnam, the US agreed to pay $3 billion in reparation and reconstruction.

On getting out, they immediately reneged on the agreement and instead invoked sanctions on Vietnam. Vietnam has been economically poor ever since the war; and needs foreign investment to reconstruct its infrastructure.

: : I've answered your questions with citations, reasoned explanations and substantiated facts and figures. You have continued to avoid the questions you couldn't answer, but insist that you were right despite your lack of any subtantial evidence to stand on, or your lack of any actual study in the field.

: And still, despite those hardships, I feel that my position is ultimately correct and that yours is not. Strange the way these things sometimes work out.

It's because your views are so blinkered; that you are so convinced of your rightness, that you are unable to examine scientific data with any objectivity.

: : Nobel was an expert chemist; after all, he invented dynamite, but he had a decided lack of understanding of the human condition; and the Nobel Peace Prize is his eternal admission of error; 'I was wrong, so here's a prize to the people who make peace'

: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the human condition. Human nature, as some may call it.

No; human nature is not a fixed thing; as Rousseau and Hobbes both found out.

Nobel simply thought that humans weren't capable of that brutality; just as Einstein never thought people would use the mass-energy relationship to build a bomb.

: : And he wasn't speaking about his field, Frenchy. The fact that someone is an expert chemist doesn't automatically make them an expert psychologist. Poor old Nobel was naive enough to believe that people wouldn't engage in war because it was horrible; that had never stopped people before Nobel.

: So, If the real problem is human psychology, that's where we should go for answers? Now there's a group of scientists who are always right.

Stop fudging. I'm talking about climate science; something in which I am qualified in. Nobel would not have made elementary mistakes in chemistry, since he was a chemist. the prediction that people would not engage in war was an unscientific prediction; and one based on no experimental evidence whatsoever.

: : No, Frenchy, it's just that I'm arguing on ground I know and you don't. I'm not stopping you from knowing; indeed, I'm trying to explain things as clearly as possible to you, but you are refusing to listen because it represents a point of view you do not want to listen to.

: Not only that, I think that your wrong and I'm right.

Even on areas that you will admit I know far more than you do?

: : Pull yourself out of the mud, Frenchy. Get some knowledge. Upskill yourself, and maybe you can fight on me on vaguely equal terms.'

: Is it possible that your own knowledge is keeping you from learning new things?

I learn new things every day; see the article I posted from yesterday's news; I didn't previously know that every year since 1976 has been significantly hotter than average.

: : : I don't know a fcccccking thing about football either. Or baseball. Or basketball. I'm a confirmed organized sports hater.

: : Mens sana in corpore sano; I rowed and fenced for my University. I don't hate sport; it's just that a lot of sports are basically just distractions for the masses.

: Yeah, but that may be a good thing too, given what the masses are.

They are human beings; and they deserve more than just being treated as sheep. Modern high-profile sports occupy a similar position to the one religion used to; it is a show to distract the masses from their essential boredom; if not opium for the people, vicarious endorphins and adrenaline for the people instead.

: : : So why is there so much disagreement by the experts in this feild?

: : It's called 'scientific debate'; and you get just as much debate in medical research; pace the argument over the transmission mechanism for BSE->CJD transmission in humans.

: Which only proves that the experts sometimes, maybe often times, get it wrong.

Actually, what more often happens is that debate happens in the infancy of a science; that's when the major fights occur. People no longer argue about whether the Earth goes around the Sun or the Sun around the Earth because the science is old; a consensus has been reached in the light of experimental evidence.

The vast majority of climate scientists feel that the evidence for global warming occurring is compelling; which is why they are reaching the consensus that global warming is happening.

: : The GCC is dying; and when the 5% who are getting funded to make noise finally run out of support, the 95% who believe that the evidence for global warming is compelling will represent a consensus.

: And I'd still say that the connection between global warming and human activity hasn't been proven because climate changes have been taking place for eons.

Of course they have; but measurable climate changes have been taking place over a very short space of time coincedent with the increase in human-produced CO2 emission. The three hottest years this millennium have all been in this decade; and we are approaching the highest recorded temperature in human history.

: Carbon dioxide comes from Mother Earth herself. What's the percentage of man-made carbon dioxide to earth produced carbon dioxide? I believe that there's a lot more that comes from the earth than from SUV's.

So did Ronald Reagan; and he's nuts.

"I have flown twice over Mt St Helens out on our west coast. I'm not a scientist and I don't know the figures, but I have a suspicion that that one little mountain has probably released more sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere of the world than has been released in the last ten years of automobile driving or things of that kind that people are so concerned about." - Reagan, speaking in 1980

- Actually, Mount St. Helens, at its peak activity, emitted about 2,000 tons of sulphur dioxide per day, compared with 81,000 tons per day by cars.

Ronnie isn't exactly the sharpest of thinkers; nor was he ever.

"Facts are stupid things." - Ronnie, speaking in 1988

: : Actually, quinine is a natural product; not an invention; it's the ground-up bark of the Chinchona tree; and was first discovered to be anti-malarial by the Incas; the first usage by Westerners was in 1636.

: Nevertheless, there's another invention for ya that has done a lot of good.

It's *not* an invention; it's a discovery. Did Columbus invent the New World? - of course not; he merely found it.

: : It wasn't invented as such; it was discovered; and probably by accident.

: Same difference. Chalk it up to serendipity.

Much of the technological advances are due to serendipity; not research; think of Kekule's benzene ring, or Watt's pot.

They don't happen because people set out to develop them; they happen by chance.

: : Unfortunately, the malaria parasite is evolving resistance to quinine and chloroquine; and global warming is leading to the mosquito that carries the malaria parasite spreading; currently, about 45% of the world's population lives in malarial zones; by 2100, the Red Cross estimates that 60% of the world's population will be living in malarial zones; including large parts of the southern and central US.

: Time to invest in companies that make quinine. Monsanto? Three M? ADR?

- like I said; "Unfortunately, the malaria parasite is evolving resistance to quinine and chloroquine".

Malaria is continually evolving to counter threats to its existence; for large sections of the world, quinine just doesn't work any more.

: : No I'm not. I'm saying, "look, I spent four years of my life studying this subject; I have a slightly more in-depth knowledge than you do of this subject; I'm not saying that this makes me a better person per se, but are you really arrogant enough to think you know as much about climate science as I do?"

: No, absolutely not. But I am awake enough to know that there are strong disagreements by many knowledgeable people on this topic, top flight scientists. Even some scientists who think that global warming could be a good thing, based on historical and geologic evidence.

Unfortunately, you don't know enough of the scientific world to tell the difference between a majority and a small but highly vocal minority funded by business.

: I'm reading something called "Global Warming, A Boon to Humans and other Animals" by Thomas Gale Moore, printed by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University (1995), and he makes sense to me.

Try reading the GEO-2000 report by the UN Environment Programme; it's the largest and most thorough study ever carried out on the implications of climate change

: : Quoted directly from your post, Frenchy. If you choose Fred Rundle of the Aryan White Brotherhood as your spokesman, why are you surprised if you get labelled as a fascist?

: Simple, I read what he writes, agree with some of the things he says, not with other things he says, and don't care a whit for yet other things that he says.

-and yet, you don't even edit your sources carefully enough to cut out the bits you don't agree with?

: But the really funny part is that both Fascists and Nazis are on the left.

No they're not, Frenchy; a cursory glance at the evidence

If actually looking at the real-world evidence isn't too much of a shock to you, that is...


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