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94% Posted Jun 2017

"Oh Jeremy Corbyn" breaks out over Glastonbury

Comment: 13 hours ago

Age differences are interesting. The older you get, the more you think about keeping what you've already got. The younger you are, the more you think about building your future. Seen that way, it makes sense why older people voted to leave Europe and set up borders, while younger people voted to remain united with 27 neighbouring countries.

Even though neither Bernie nor Corbyn won, younger people feel the tide is turning and that it is unstoppable. That's why all the excitement.

94% Posted Jun 2017

"Oh Jeremy Corbyn" breaks out over Glastonbury

Comment: 14 hours ago

You are missing the bigger picture. The mood of the country is changing fast. The reaction to the corporatism that the world has sleptwalked into over the past 30 odd years, looked like it was swinging to the hard right, now known as alt-right. But after Trump and Brexit, Le Pen did not win. Europe is not disintegrating. Bernie is more popular than ever. So Corbyn's stunning rise, which was faster than Bernie's (Bernie took a year to rise 60 points, Corbyn took a month to rise 30 points), further strengthens the change in direction the world is aching for.

Imagine you're in your twenties. Life has hardly begun - you could well live to be 200. A year ago, your future looked like it would be dictated by characters like Trump and Farage. But they have had their go and already totally failed. If you look to people like Bernie and Corbyn, the future is so much more appealing. 

I've just been trying to get my head around blockchains, and that got me thinking that maybe blockchain principles could be used as a basis for a corruption free government working in the interests of everybody. Any thoughts on that?

94% Posted Jun 2017

"Oh Jeremy Corbyn" breaks out over Glastonbury

Comment: 1 day ago

Since the Great Recession of 2008 people have become more informed about politics. It started with Occupy. People have come to realise that trickle down economics doesn't trickle down, it trickles up. That austerity doesn't grow an economy, investment does. And that governments and corporations are in bed together acting for personal gain. 

The reaction has been to split to the right, an emotional reaction, or to the left, a more considered reaction. Generally speaking, older people went right (Trump/Brexit) yearning for a return to coal and empire. Younger people went left (Sanders/Corbyn) looking for a sustainable future of peace and environment.

I too am surprised at the rise of Corbyn. Before the election I couldn't imagine that I could ever vote for him. Labour's manifesto changed me, and Corbyn has grown into a credible leader. Today I'm enthused. That was all in the space of 2 months! I guess if I can change, then other people can too.

Corbyn at Glastonbury and Bernie being by far the most popular US politician - these are historic times - because when the US or UK elect a truly progressive democratic socialist government, which will surely happen, the world will follow. 

Do physicists believe in God?87% Posted May 2017

Do physicists believe in God?

Comment: 5 days ago

"Again, my view of the universe isn’t one with god, but one that merely COULD have god." Yes, that's also my view. That's what "I don't know" means. We are talking about what makes you sway towards a universe with god. Please stay on track.

You sway from the neutral position (I don't know) to a non-neutral position (I don't know but ...) by carefully crafting a conception of god that you think is plausible.

Just to remind you, this was how I summed up your idea. "Every religion is a human attempt to describe the same "supreme being". They fail in terms of "accuracy" because god is unknowable and cannot be knowable to humans. You think the existence of an unknowable "supreme being" to be more likely than not."

You then tweaked it a bit: "My tweak would be that perhaps they fail in accuracy (we don’t know and they can’t decide), and that god isn’t currently knowable."

Now you tweak it further: "SEVERAL religions COULD be a human attempt ..." Fair enough, it's only 2 words and ideas do evolve. You can tweak as much as you like, the point is your position is not neutral (which is not a problem in itself, my position is not neutral either), but what sways you from neutral is pure speculation - an idea about god and the universe that you made up based on your interpretation of some verses in some holy books about the "knowability" of god. And to support this idea - that all/several religions are/could be praying to the same god - you found a spooky parallel or two (my mistake to think it was god of the gaps).

I can only conclude that you carefully craft your very own conception of god so that you can position yourself on the agnostic scale where you are politically comfortable. Otherwise, why do it?

Ubitricity 87% Posted Jun 2017

Ubitricity

Comment: 7 days ago

Maybe it never occurred to the designers that it might get stolen. Why don't you email them.

While you're about it, you could check if it's waterproof.

Do physicists believe in God?87% Posted May 2017

Do physicists believe in God?

Comment: 9 days ago

I don't have any novel ideas about a universe with or without god. What I think comes from the evidence I am aware of. If evidence didn't drive my thoughts, then I could make up any old shit and I'm not prepared to do that.

You however have carefully crafted an idea about the universe with god, so that you can place yourself on the agnostic scale in a position of your choosing. If that's not political correctness affecting your judgement, I'll eat my cat. 

"An idea about how the universe exists (with a god, without a god) is not the same as an idea about what type of god there could be. I have ideas about the universe but not particular ideas about the nature of any god inside it." Yes I know that we are talking about "your idea about god", not what type of god is in your idea. The only specifics you have given me is that - in your idea, god is currently unknowable and is the same god that all religious people pray to. Have you had feedback from religious friends? I'd love to hear their reactions.

"My position is neutral in that there aren’t many conceptions of god or no god that I cannot allow for." Your position is not neutral because you have created an idea of god that you are using to sway your otherwise neutral position.

You ask "what constitutes evidence for a currently unknowable supreme being?" There is no evidence, just as there is no evidence of the stockmarket for a cat. Without evidence we can just make something up - just like you did for your idea. Or, we can decide NOT to make stuff up and remain in limbo until there is evidence.

"As for your flavour of the month, ‘thought illusions’, every now and again I get an insight into what Youtube clips and Wikipedia entries you’ve been into." Thought illusion is something I made up. Any resemblence to what you've seen on YouTube is coincidental. I don't know if the brain actually works like that, but we know that our brains manipulate what we see to fit what it thinks we should be seeing (optical illusion), and that it manipulates what we hear according to what we see (the McGurk effect), and that it manipulates taste (blue milk will taste different to white milk), so I'd be very surprised if it doesn't manipulate what we think according to what we pre-think. That's why NDT doesn't like labels - because labels are perfect fodder for thought illusions.

About the god of the gaps - I thought there were only two wild cards - 'god of the gaps' and 'god's mysterious ways'. But now we have a third. Let's call it 'the spooky parallel' - something we don't understand that parallels something we consider supernatural, therefore maybe god. For example: entangled particles instantly react to each other even when billions of light years apart. Very spooky indeed. In fact, so spooky it parallels a power any supreme being would be expected to have - the ability to instantly affect something on the other side of the universe. Therefore maybe god.

Here's another example. Infinity goes on forever. That's spookily parallel to conceptions of the afterlife and eternity. Therefore maybe god.

I like this game. Your turn. Fill in the gaps: "... is spookily parallel to ... therefore maybe god."

"So in a nutshell, you have your own speculations which you think are well-founded, but on closer inspection they are not strictly logical or evidence-based which is how you like to see yourself." I don't know, and neither do you. I sway one way, you sway the other. What sways me is not speculation. I'm not speculating when I say there is no evidence. I'm not speculating when I say there is currently no need for god as an explanation for anything. And I'm not speculating when I say studies show religion is an evolved behaviour.

What sways you however is total speculation - an idea you made up based on a spooky parallel.

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly? 86% Posted Jun 2017

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly?

Comment: 10 days ago

'Stay in place' only works if the fire is contained. Don't forget, fires in high-rise blocks happen relatively often, but are not news because they are contained,  burning out only a flat or two.

In this case, the fire was not contained because the cladding was not fire proof. That is a regulation issue. I just heard on the radio, the cladding used on Grenfell Tower is banned in Germany on buildings over 22m high (that's the height fire engines reach with ladders fully extended), and in the US for buildings over 15m. In Dubai the same cladding is used on most high-rise buildings and fire safety experts are warning of a disaster.

I can imagine a 'stay in place' policy, with training, that may have contained even the fire at Grenfell Tower with cladding. If residents on the fire floor and below closed all windows and doors before evacuating, and residents on floors above closed all windows and doors and prepared to fight the fire - prevent it coming in from the burning cladding outside - then the cladding might have burnt itself out before setting the rest of the building alight. Training would be essential because the natural instinct would be to open the windows and call for help or consider how to climb down or jump. So the strategy would be for residents to fight the fire from above, mainly by trying to suffocate it, and evacuating upwards if they are losing the battle, and fire fighters attacking the fire from the below. But of course, the problem is that in an actual fire, nobody knows what is going on, and people panic.

There is a difference between residential and commercial buildings. A residential building is inhabited 24 hours a day by all sorts - infants, pensioners, disabled, pets etc. If the whole building is destroyed, then residents who don't lose their lives, lose pretty much everything else. It's much more destructive to people's lives than if a commercial building is destroyed.

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly? 86% Posted Jun 2017

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly?

Comment: 10 days ago

I can't think of any stairs in high-rise blocks anywhere that I've experienced that would work smoothly for 2-way traffic, especially when you consider the people coming down are going to be of all ages, shapes and abilities.

Then, if the fire is at night, the stairs will be dark, so the scenario could be panicking people tripping over each other.

And as people open doors of their flats and the staircase, that allows air in to fuel the fire, or air out and cause a draft sucking the smoke up into the staircase. 

The more I think about it, the more I think 'stay in place' makes sense. A fire drill could be - if you are on the floor of the fire, evacuate. If not, shut all doors and windows, check neighbours are aware of the fire, and distribute the fire extinguishers. Each flat should have at least one fire extinguisher, and there should be some in the hallway.

I wonder what the stats are for 'stay in place' vs evacuation policies. I can't be bothered to look it up right now, but you like stats - maybe you can check it out?

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly? 86% Posted Jun 2017

Why did the fire at Grenfell Tower spread so quickly?

Comment: 10 days ago

'Stay in place' does make sense as long as other safety regulations are in place. The thinking goes like this. Fires in high-rise blocks should be contained long enough for emergency services to arrive and deal with it. If the building is evacuating when firefighters arrive, the stairs will be blocked by panicking families coming down, hindering access to the fire for firefighters. If buildings are fitted with sprinklers and fire doors, then fires can be contained until firefighters arrive.

Which sounds fine, except reality is never that simple. In this case, the outer cladding, which was recently added to prettify the building, was not fire proof. It was a hot night, so many windows and doors were open. Once the cladding caught, fire raced up the side of the building entering the upper floors through the open windows - and within minutes, the building was a raging inferno.

Would fewer people have died if the policy was to evacuate? Maybe, but there are probably many cases where evacuation would have hindered firefighters and resulted in more deaths.

Overall, I'd go for a 'stay in place' policy in conjunction with sensible strong safety regulations that are properly enforced. For example, that cladding is banned in Germany. Why not ban it here too?

Mark Blyth: Welcome to the new Britain 86% Posted Jun 2017

Mark Blyth: Welcome to the new Britain

Comment: 12 days ago

I agree. I too have doubts about Corbyn as a leader. But Theresa May is proving to be a terrible leader. So the choice for me was voting for a party with many policies I liked led by a leader I thought was incompetent, or a party with policies I disliked led by a leader I came to realise was terrible. 

About FPTP, I think you're spot on. PR was missing from Labour's manifesto. They could have offered a referendum on our election system in the last year of their term in office. Two other big topics missed were legalisation of cannabis and UBI. Legalisation can significantly boost the tax intake, and reduce the pressure on our police.

And we need to start thinking about UBI as automation rises at an alarming rate. Foxconn, a Chinese company that builds/assembles Apple and Samsung products, is replacing 60,000 workers with robots. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36376966 Even low-wage Chinese workers are now too expensive. Message to Trump: jobs are not coming back to America, hard-working robots are.

As for Corbyn's leadership - I'm changing my mind on that and coming round to thinking it's not so much incompetence, but a different (better?) style of leadership. What do you think?

Do physicists believe in God?87% Posted May 2017

Do physicists believe in God?

Comment: 14 days ago

I see a master weasel at work. Just swap "conception" for the vernacular - "idea". So: "A lack of my own idea means I allow for other ideas without having my own". Great, except you just broadcast your own idea. No problem playing around with ideas, or even rating them, but you are using your idea to position yourself on the agnostic scale - that is, nearer to a universe with god than a universe without. It looks like you are trying to craft a position that you find politically acceptable. So instead of saying "religions are wrong", you say "religions are wrong but they are on the right track". At least that's the flavour you are trying to invoke. That is not a neutral agnostic position. 

My position is not neutral either - I sway towards a godless universe. The difference is that I haven't come up with a conception of god to support my agnostic position, I have used reasoning. You may disagree with my reasoning, but I didn't just make up a story.

Your 'life in the universe' analogy is worth a comment. We have a definition for life which is less vague than "a currently unknowable supreme being". Also we know there is life in the universe, the question is, is there more life than just on Earth, and if so what type. 

Here's more classic weaselling. "God of the gaps’… nowhere have I used god as an explanatory principle. Sloppy. Quantum theory isn’t necessarily explained by a god, but it does suggest PARALLEL ways". I love the use of "explanatory principle" and "parallel", but in caps. Nice touch. It's almost as good as "I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman".

"Religion is not theism ; lack of religion is not atheism. This is a face-punchingly obvious distinction that baffles you." Just think in the vernacular and you'll see I'm not conflating religion and theism - I'm connecting them, just like you have with your idea. I'm curious - have you tested your idea on religious friends? I wonder what the reaction of a Muslim would be to the idea that Muhammad got it wrong and Allah is actually the same currently unknowable god that an Aborigine prays to.

"To use your reasoning, a way in which a god could act isn’t PROOF of a god, but it would be a requirement for a universe with a god. Tick." That's an interesting twist, but far less compelling. "No evidence of god" is easily falsified (simply by finding evidence) - "a way in which god could act" is unfalsifiable. So not so much a tick, more of a smudge.

It's interesting that you understood my point about no evidence (because you came up with a variation that uses the same reasoning), but when you come to discuss the actual point, (Evidence… here we go round the mulberry bush...) you swerve into Boolean logic. What happened there?

I'll tell you what I think. It's a classic thought illusion at play. You have labelled me in such a way that gets your brain to manipulate this: "No evidence of god' is NOT proof of no god, but it IS a requirement for a godless universe" into a statement of Boolean logic.

Had you labelled me as a person driven by evidence, then 'no evidence ...' means 'I don't know' because there is nothing to base anything on. 

So in a nutshell, neither of us know, but I sway towards a godless universe for the reasons I gave. You sway towards a universe with god by coming up with a carefully crafted conception of god.

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union 93% Posted Jun 2017

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union

Comment: 15 days ago

When I read your first comment, I thought you were alluding to foreign collusion in elections. Like when Obama came to the UK and gave a speech against Brexit, or when Nigel Farage went to the US and spoke at a Trump rally. In the case of Bernie, he didn't give a speech supporting Jeremy Corbyn. He attacked Trump and his message was focused on the growing income gap and concentration of power. He was explaining to a UK audience what was going on in America.

But you actually want to talk about Flynn because you think he is being unjustly treated because of his links with Trump. I don't know enough about this to really comment. A quick google and I can see it's a complicated story involving Trump, lies,  lobbying, Russia, Turkey, speeches... All I can say is Bernie is not under investigation, Flynn is.

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union 93% Posted Jun 2017

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union

Comment: 15 days ago

I don't know what Bernie got for the Oxford Union speech, but he was paid $1,867.42 for three speeches leading up to February 2016. He gave it all to charity. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/bernie-sanders-reveals-he-earned-186742-in-speaking-fees-compared-to-the-clintons-153m-a6861951.html

In the case of Flynn, I haven't been following the story, but as I understand it - Flynn is under investigation for dodgy dealings (including highly paid speeches) in Russia that he did not disclose, and should have. Very different to Bernie getting invited to talk at the Oxford Union.

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union 93% Posted Jun 2017

Bernie slams Trump at the Oxford Union

Comment: 15 days ago

That's an interesting thought. I too was surprised at how partisan Bernie is, and whether this is appropriate for addressing the Oxford Union. His speech is more like a campaign rally speech rather than a talk about US politics at a debating society.

More and more, what happens in other parts of the world matters. Doesn't matter where you're from. Bernie is not running for office, he's fighting a cause. That fight doesn't stop between elections. National party politics is being disrupted by the rise of movements. Both the US Democratic Party and the UK Labour Party have been infected. Globalisation is coming to politics. The big issues of our time are global - oligarchs, climate change, terrorism, automation etc. Even Donald Trump is a global problem.

Insane RC helicopter flight 87% Posted Jun 2017

Insane RC helicopter flight

Comment: 18 days ago

The idea is that the blades can cool the planet just as a fan cools your face.

Do physicists believe in God?87% Posted May 2017

Do physicists believe in God?

Comment: 18 days ago

You asked "where have I said I have any particular conception of god?" I didn't say that. I said you have your own conception of god. Your conception of god is particular to you. It's your idea that religious people are all describing the same god but have got details wrong on an epic scale. A+ for effort, D- for results. That's not a Christian's conception of god, or a Hindu's, or anyone else's except by coincidence - it's your conception.

"... much of what we have discovered about quantum science defies classical explanations and shows parallels with what could be called religious or supernatural phenomena." So it's the "god of the gaps" argument that sways you. I never thought you'd stoop so low. For those who don't know, that is when god is the explanation for gaps in our knowledge. So in this case, quantum weirdness is so weird, maybe it is religious or supernatural. Yeah, maybe the stockmarket is so weird to a cat it's religious or supernatural.

Here are 3 reasons why I'm swayed towards a godless universe. In no particular order: 

1. So far, there is no reason to conclude that any gap in our knowledge is best explained by god, not even quantum weirdness, other dimensions, infinity etc. Seems to me quantum weirdness is humans reaching human limits. If humans have limits, then we would expect that as we try to make sense of everything, sense itself will break down at some point. I'll remind you of the cat and the stockmarket.

2. Religion can be credibly explained in evolutionary terms. Many studies support this, and if you understand what drives natural selection, it's hard to imagine how artificial gods would not become a thing.

3. There is no evidence of god. 'No evidence of god' is NOT proof of no god, but it IS a requirement for a godless universe. So that's one essential box ticked (which would be instantly unticked in the advent of evidence). That's what being driven by evidence means. Evidence drives my belief. No evidence means I have no belief because there's nothing to base the belief on.

So to sum up, you are swayed towards a universe with god because quantum weirdness could look a bit like religious or supernatural phenomena; I am swayed towards a godless universe because there's no evidence of god, no need for god to explain anything, and credible theories that explain why we have gods. I'm sticking with my position until evidence forces me to change. You can weasel around with words to try to make your position not sound like "god of the gaps". It'll be difficult, but I'm confident you'll find a way.

Corbyn pressed on whether he'd use nuclear weapons 87% Posted Jun 2017

Corbyn pressed on whether he'd use nuclear weapons

Comment: 20 days ago

The problem with MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) is that it requires all leaders of nuclear armed nations to be sane.

Hands up who is confident our leaders are sane. Hmm ... I don't see many hands.

Pod plane concept that could change the way we fly 87% Posted Jun 2017

Pod plane concept that could change the way we fly

Comment: 20 days ago

The view won't be a problem. Planes in the future won't have windows - the view will be projected on the inside walls allowing the fuselage to be much stronger and lighter. Check out this Airbus concept: https://youtu.be/Q5K1ZDs-li0

Do physicists believe in God?87% Posted May 2017

Do physicists believe in God?

Comment: 21 days ago

You keep avoiding my question. I'm asking WHY you have a stronger belief that there is some conception of a god that exists in some way rather than none. What sways you towards a universe with god rather than without?

Pod plane concept that could change the way we fly 87% Posted Jun 2017

Pod plane concept that could change the way we fly

Comment: 21 days ago

Brilliant. Very Musk.

Elon, you're already too busy.

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