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BallaDoc

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BallaDoc last won the day on October 23 2019

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About BallaDoc

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  1. I've got nothing against LGBTQ people (or whatever the current acronym is) and I've had some good friends who are gay. But I find the current fad for transgenderism - especially transgenderism in children - disturbing. For one thing, your biological sex is hard wired into every cell in your body and can't be changed. And for another thing, I think we are also hard wired to recognise whether a person is male or female because it's been fundamentally important throughout millions of years of evolution (do you fight with this stranger or try to mate with them?). I think we do this on a subconscious level, which is why when you see a transgender or cross dressing person, something doesn't look quite right - maybe the shape of the shoulders or the shape of the face is projecting one sex while the clothes and the hairstyle are projecting another, producing a slightly discordant result.
  2. You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet (or island).
  3. The French royal family used to live in the Palace of Versailles until the French Revolution, when they were evicted and guillotined in 1793. The Palace of Versailles is now a tourist attraction, attracting over 7 million visitors per year. Would people like to see the same thing happen to Buckingham Palace (apart from the guillotining bit of course)? There are no right or wrong answers to this - I'm just curious to take an opinion poll.
  4. Interestingly, he wrote that before the French Revolution. Had he seen the result of it, he might have changed his mind.
  5. I'd be sorry to see the Royal Family abolished, because they are part of British history and tradition, promoting the British brand to the rest of the world, etc. but if the younger royals start playing fast and loose with it, that is where we are heading - it will give ammunition to people who want to abolish the institution altogether. If they are getting money from the public purse they should carry out their public duties.
  6. I've heard of the Simon-Ehrlich wager before. Here's a summary of it: "The Simon–Ehrlich wager was a 1980 scientific wager between business professor Julian L. Simon and biologist Paul Ehrlich, betting on a mutually agreed-upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990. The widely-followed contest originated in the pages of Social Science Quarterly, where Simon challenged Ehrlich to put his money where his mouth was. In response to Ehrlich's published claim that "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000" Simon offered to take that bet, or, more realistically, "to stake US$10,000 ... on my belief that the cost of non-government-controlled raw materials (including grain and oil) will not rise in the long run." Simon challenged Ehrlich to choose any raw material he wanted and a date more than a year away, and he would wager on the inflation-adjusted prices decreasing as opposed to increasing. Ehrlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. The bet was formalized on September 29, 1980, with September 29, 1990, as the payoff date. Ehrlich lost the bet, as all five commodities that were bet on declined in price from 1980 through 1990, the wager period.[1]" On the face of it, Simon won the bet. However, there are several things wrong with this wager, the main one in my view being the time frame. 10 years is far too short a time to wager on anything like this. For example, even though I'm a "dark green", I'm reasonably sure that in 10 years from now most of the cars and lorries on the road will still be running on fossil fuels, the supermarkets will still be full of food and the petrol stations will still be selling petrol. I'm not so sure whether all of those things will still be true 100 years from now. Imagine that a Roman made a bet in the year 100 that the Roman Empire would fall by the year 200. He would lose that bet. Then suppose his great-great-grandchild followed that up with another bet in the year 200 that the Roman Empire would fall by the year 300. He would also lose that bet, as would anyone who bet in the year 300 that the Roman Empire would fall by the year 400. But eventually of course, the Roman Empire did fall (in the year 476). It just took a very, very long time.
  7. The problem with "someone will invent something" is that our track record of inventing things is rather patchy. The Easter Islanders were unable to invent something to replace trees when they ran out, their population crashed, and according to some accounts, they ended up eating each other. The Mesopotamians were unable to invent anything to take the salt out of their soil, and they crashed. The Mayans were unable to invent anything to manage drought, and they crashed. Our civilisation has had some notable successes in the last 300 years, for example, replacing wood with coal, then replacing coal with oil and natural gas. Both transitions were improvements in many ways, although they have landed us with climate change. However, it doesn't logically follow that we will continue on the same upward trajectory. The upcoming transition away from fossil fuels and towards more electrification is likely to be problematic. For a start, you can't make agricultural fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides, plastics or asphalt out of wind turbines the same way you can make them out of oil and natural gas. Nobody has so far succeeded in making an electric powered commercial airliner (yes, I know they'll keep trying, but I'm not counting on it). Electric cars are workable but not as good as petrol or diesel cars in many ways: they don't have as long a range, they take much longer to refuel, and I won't keep going on about the lithium batteries because we've already been there. So I'm literally betting on the family farm rather than a technological rescue which may or may not occur. I'm buying an 11 acre homestead and I'm learning organic farming methods. We can theorise all we like, but I think only time will tell who made the best bet.
  8. No. What I am claiming is that it is finite - a fact which seems to be overlooked by most modern economists, and quite a few environmentalists of the "bright green" (as opposed to "dark green") persuasion. So for example, if the supply of economically extractable lithium is finite, you can only make a finite number of lithium batteries with it, and therefore only a finite number of people can possess a finite number of lithium battery powered cars. You can't have infinite economic growth on a finite planet. The usual response to that is "someone is sure to invent something to replace <whatever we are about to run short of>". Well, good luck with that. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. I'm not going to bet the family farm on it.
  9. Well, I think it's a great idea, except that I suspect people who have "large" gardens can probably afford to buy their own trees. I just bought eight fruit trees for my allotment - two pear trees and six apple trees - but I then had to order another two pear trees, because you need different varieties to cross pollinate each other and produce fruit. I only found this out by reading the small print in my gardening book, otherwise my two pear trees (which are the same variety) would have produced nothing but leaves and flowers. It's like pear trees have sex with each other when the gardener isn't looking, but only with different kinds of pear trees, not the same kind. There's a lot more to planting trees than at first appears.
  10. It's important to distinguish between primary, secondary and tertiary wealth. Primary wealth: resources like land, coal, oil, iron ore. There are finite amounts of these, and even billionaires can't create this raw material, they can only appropriate it for their own use. So for example, if a billionaire has a 100-acre estate, that means that nobody else can lay claim to that 100 acres and there are slightly fewer acres to share out for everyone else. Secondary wealth: the finished materials which are produced from the primary wealth, like steel, food crops, cars, computers. These things are often produced by billionaires / entrepreneurs, which is arguably a socially useful activity, but because primary wealth is finite, and the secondary wealth is produced from the primary wealth, this means that the secondary wealth is also finite and can't continue increasing year on year, forever. Therefore economic growth can't continue increasing year on year, forever. Tertiary wealth: what people think of as wealth, but isn't really. For example, a "billionaire" is so called because s/he owns a billion pounds / dollars, usually in the form of digits in a computer. But you can't eat computer digits, or burn them to keep warm, or stuff them under the door to keep out the draughts. You can generate an unlimited amount of tertiary wealth, but it is only useful if you can convert it into physical primary or secondary wealth. If people stop believing that the digits have value, then they stop having value. If you don't believe me, try using a credit card in a marketplace in ancient Rome. The same applies to AI and other forms of computer communication. They are a form of tertiary wealth but they only have value when applied to primary or secondary wealth. For example, I have an electric car with lots of AI on board to help me get from one place to another, safely. But if the lithium mines run out of lithium to make the batteries to power the car, then the on-board AI becomes valueless.
  11. Whether you think billionaires should exist or not probably depends on which model of the economic universe you subscribe to. Model 1: the economy will continue growing at 2-3% per year, ad infinitum. Billionaire entrepreneurs are responsible for creating this economic growth, and therefore wealth. The wealth they create trickles down to the masses, or to put it another way, a rising tide lifts all boats. Therefore, billionaires should exist because we all benefit from their entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Model 2: the economy is not so much like a rising tide, but more like a pie of finite size. It can't keep on expanding forever: there is only a limited amount of stuff to go round, and if someone has more of the stuff, that means someone else has less of it. The pie should be divided up more fairly and equally. Billionaires should not exist. When I was little, I learned from my parents that Model 1 represented the true universe. However, as I got older and learned to think for myself, I realised that Model 2 more accurately represents the universe we live in.
  12. Does anyone know where we can see the actual details of the scheme, not just what Manx Radio says the details of the scheme are? It might be more reasonable than we think (OK, maybe I'm being an optimist here). I went to the Tynwald website and typed in "Agriculture and Fisheries Grant Scheme" but all I got was the 2016 one which is here: http://www.tynwald.org.im/links/tls/SD/2016a/2016-SD-0210.pdf and presumably this is now being replaced with the new one?
  13. The likelihood of getting caught seems so high that I'm amazed that people do it at all. Speaking of which, how do people get caught - is it by police moles infiltrating child porn websites? There is an interesting podcast about this called "Hunting Warhead" which is currently available on iTunes.
  14. Thanks for that people. I get the bit about what a solenoid valve does generically, but I'm puzzled as to what it is doing in my particular plumbing situation - and more particularly, what would happen if the power went off and the solenoid stopped working. I don't have any other pictures but here is where it is located: I've got the rising main coming up out of the floor, then the main stopcock which turns the water supply to the house off, then the pipe above that branches into two, and on one of those branches is where this solenoid valve is located. So whatever it is, it seems to be fairly high up in the pecking order of plumbing things. But then both branches of the pipe disappear into the floor / wall so I don't know where they go after that. As far as I know the water supply doesn't vary a lot in pressure - but maybe that's because the solenoid is doing its job....
  15. I was doing some home plumbing work under the kitchen sink when I came across an electrical device attached to what looks like the water inlet - photo attached. It's quite warm, it has an electrical cable attached to it and on it are the words "HTP Solenoid Valve". A question for any plumbers out there - what is it and what does it do? I have Googled it, but this is one of the few times when Google has been a victim of its own success, because I found dozens of Google hits telling me where I could buy one, but not a single one telling me what it does. It seems to be working fine, so I am not going to interfere with it, but it's useful to know what things are supposed to do in case they stop working and you have to fix them. Thanks for any help!
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