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Wertbag

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Everything posted by Wertbag

  1. I think the brain is amazing and we barely understand how it works. The ability to remember tiny details from decades ago or cases of savants with fantastic skills. Yet we are easily deceived, suffer from the mandela effect and have false memories. Eye witness accounts are considered poor evidence for these reasons. NDE are easily explained by brain activity, and as Martini said people who experience hell do so based on what they've been taught. Knowing how bad our minds are and how prone to mistakes or distortion of reality they can be, relying on that for any kind of proof of supernatural events seems flimsy. Is it more likely that a person was actually Napoleon in another life or that they saw a documentary about him in the past and their brain pulls that data to the front under hypnosis.
  2. Cool, I got my black stripe in ITF but stopped about 6 years ago. I cross trained BJJ until I got injured, tried muay thai until I got injured and there's not many options around here to try anything new. I'd never heard of Balintawak so had to Google that one. Seems to be a variation on eskrima, which is famous but hard to find in a small country like NZ.
  3. Speaking of bathrooms, some of the guys at work have an aversion to closing cubicle doors. I've had them say they don't want to touch the door handle and look at it like standing at a urinal. I just about walked into a guys back when the door was open and I hurried in.
  4. Video game monetization. There has been a lot of controversy around how games are being monetised with full price games adding in cosmetic sales, downloadable content (dlc), and loot boxes. Several countries have categorised loot boxes as gambling. The frustration is that enough of the population buy into these schemes to make it profitable. We all get worse games because developers are stripping out content to resell as add-on.
  5. 11 min video, NZ comedian investigates the flat earth:
  6. Politicians do post on twitter, have their own websites and party websites, even hold online chats, but you get poor penetration when no one cares about your content. Sure YouTube stars can have millions of followers, but more often they don't. For every PewDiePie there are a thousand channels with less than 1k subs. In your example the guy was famous then switched to politics, easy to do that way around but harder to switch to politics then attempt to become famous.
  7. I have heard from unreliable media sources that there was a large part of the US population who disliked both Hillary and Trump. A third choice might have done well considering the choices available. I've heard many discussions saying Trump is highly likely to win again if he runs, mostly due to the lack of inspiring opposition. It would take someone of great fame to beat him, someone like Oprah or The rock, who would likely win regardless of their policies.
  8. In fairness there was no suggestions of any tests or of removing anyone's ability to vote. The suggestion was to increase voting not to limit it. I'm not deep into politics, I have no formal education in politics and am happy to admit these ideas might have major flaws that I haven't considered. Happy to be educated. However I do believe there is a better way to do things than we currently have, but the system is setup to resist change and people love their traditions. Even if we can find an improved system would any Western nation be willing to take the jump to something new? It would be great to have a say on all positions in government rather than just in which party, it would be great to stop campaigns costing so much so there is the ability for the less wealthy to step up, it would be great if politicians didn't need money so much that outside influencers have great power, it would be great if we could securely vote online faster, easier and cheaper than currently, it would be great if it was a public holiday so those who are working long hours can get to vote without disadvantage and it would be great to know the people in positions of power are intelligent and educated in the fields they are covering so they can be making scientifically literate decisions on our behalf. Change can be good, it just has to be carefully considered and done right.
  9. Bit of a accusatory tone there, I'm just spit balling ideas in the hope of generating discussion. As others have mentioned such an idea would only work if there was free education which was equally available. We currently have systems that do not allow most people to run for office due to the high cost of campaigns, we have growing voter apathy and people wanting change but seeing no way to get it. I actually don't see a change in the amount of votes or the quantity per person as fixing these issues, and would advocate for a system change to make things more inclusive as a better starting point. Wow, had never seen that before, what an amazingly rigged piece of junk writing. "write backwards forwards" just purely written to be confusing. I don't know if I could get that 100% correct and having to carefully re-read every question several times I doubt I'd finish in 10 mins.
  10. I hadn't heard the term before but gained an education, thanks it does seem technocracy and Meritocracy can overlap, when education is the merit for which leadership is based. It seems the two can work hand in hand to a degree, as there are positions such as leadership which aren't taught but can be shown through achievements. Technocracy for scientific fields and Meritocracy for humanities and social issues. It feels like they have a similar goal of getting the most competent people into the roles.
  11. Compared to an old earth that is billions of years old, certainly. Which brand of church did you attend that taught those ideas?
  12. I was trying to remember when I first heard about the young earth theory, and I think it must have only been when I stumbled upon such discussions on YouTube. None of my friends or family ever promoted the idea, other than one of my wife's uncles sending us a Hovind DVD but even that would have only been in the last 7-8 years. Perhaps its just big in the US and not so much anywhere else? The Catholic Church certainly preaches an old earth...
  13. The biggest, most successful companies such as Amazon, Google, HP etc never base their hiring policies on democracy. There's never a staff vote on who gets to be CEO. Such companies run under a technocracy, with consideration given to experience, education and historical achievements. Imagine a government formed on similar lines... You need a new leader, so a set of criteria are made (over 30, no prison time served, born in the country, holding an advanced qualification, never found guilty of gross misconduct etc), then anyone can complete an application form with their CV attached. The standing parliament debate, vote and work through the submissions until you have a top 3-4 choices. Those candidates are each given a televised 1 hour interview, covering local and global issues as well as their own history and achievements. The population then votes on their preferred candidate, with the result being a democratically elected technocracy. This way anyone can apply regardless of money, there are no campaigns allowed, everyone has an even footing, and you are basing the decision on quality not fame. For the GM positions, those who are given a portfolio to run, you have the leader go through the applications to narrow to the best few. Those within that industry then get to vote on the top choices. Doctors, nurses and those in the medical sector vote on the GM of health care, while teachers, principals and school administrators vote on the GM of education. Would that fix low voter turn out? Well... Maybe. You would be voting for a leader regardless of party lines and a second vote for the sector most relevant to your career. Voting for individuals rather than groups and of course sort out an online, secure voting method. I can see that inspiring a lot more people and with politicians held to clear KPI's we can clearly measure success and progress.
  14. "Democracy’s doubters tend to accuse democracy of suffering from at least five significant design flaws: Short-termism: Due to their electoral cycles, democracies struggle to focus on long-term problems and usually remain mired in short-term policy approaches. Pain aversion: To the limited extent they do manage to look to the long term, democratic politicians are averse to imposing near-term pain for long-term gain because of their need to keep voters happy for the next election. Elite capture: By opening up decision-making power to competition among politicians who are constantly in need of money for elections, democratic systems are prone to becoming captured by the wealthy. Division and conflict: Competitive elections foment or exacerbate destructive societal divisions, generating conflict and undercutting a strong sense of national unity and purpose. Voter ignorance: Relying on ordinary citizens to choose leaders and make judgments among them based on policy performance condemns democracies to leadership and policy choices that reflect chronic voter ignorance and irrationality." Certainly our systems only allow the wealthy to compete for the positions of power, while talented, enthusiastic people without financial backing cannot get considered. It is estimated that Hillary Clinton spent ~$700m while Trump spent ~$400m on their campaigns.
  15. You could give everyone one vote for being a citizen, then an extra per degree you earn, an extra for each rally you attend, for each year you volunteer, for each live debate you see and for any other metric of voter competency. Those who don't know or care get 1 vote, those who are educated and understand the options have their voice carry more weight. Skew the results towards the knowledgeable part of the population.
  16. Here in NZ we have the local government elections going on at the moment. They are reporting the lowest turnout ever: "Voter turnout for this Saturday's local elections is heading for a record low, with the national turnout considered unlikely to be above 40 per cent." In Wellington region - "As of noon on Friday, electoral officers lamented dismal returns, at an average of only 16.7 per cent - compared with 20.03 per cent in 2016. Wellington city is among the lowest, at only 10 per cent" The problems seen in NZ are not specific to our country with many Western nations showing similar patterns: "Over the last 40 years, voter turnout has been steadily declining in the established democracies. This trend has been significant in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Latin America. It has been a matter of concern and controversy among political scientists for several decades. During this same period, other forms of political participation have also declined, such as voluntary participation in political parties and the attendance of observers at town meetings. The decline in voting has also accompanied a general decline in civic participation, such as church attendance, membership in professional, fraternal, and student societies, youth groups, and parent-teacher associations" There are many reasons for the decrease in voting, from the feeling of lacking impact and change, to access to voting booths, to the cost or time requirements or a lack of candidates who represent the voters views. And while some suggestions have been made such as online voting or making election days a national holiday, so far there is no data to confirm that these steps will make a great difference. They certainly can't hurt to make access easier and the cost to people less, but if you don't care about the process then those things won't change your mind. What we find is massive amounts of people want change. They don't necessarily know what they want it to change to, just that the current system isn't great. In NZ we had a vote to change the democratic system from first pass the post to one of several other choices. All polls showed the majority of the population had no idea what the different systems were, but that everyone was keen on something different, and so MMP was voted in. Now having this system many people are saying it is either no better or possibly worse. Obama's great slogan was "Change" and it worked as people love the idea, even when they don't know how things should change. Maybe a bit of "the grass is always greener"? I would love to see the system change to a technocracy, where people were getting office due to their skills, education and quality of their work, rather than how much TV time they managed to get. Bill Clinton jumped in the polls when he played saxophone on TV, and yet most of the people voting for him had no idea of his policies. Arnie as governor, Regan as president, Jesse Ventura as governor... fame can get you to the top regardless of what you know, what you stand for and how educated you are. I think there would be a lot of support for a system change, but I think the system is designed to make such change impossible.
  17. Any idea what changed? It sounds like shes been fine for a long time, and something has triggered a shift in her. Perhaps her church has been preaching the subject or some such? Probably didn't come to the idea on her own.
  18. I call bollocks! Have you seen the size of the average kiwi or American? Not only are we not fading away, we are killing ourselves by eating too much. Sounds like meat industry propaganda if I put my cynical hat on. Thinking about it the claim might have been that if a extreme vegan took power and banned the killing of animals there wouldn't be enough food to go around. We could increase the farming to eventually produce more crops, but the size of the undertaking is no small feat. With no fish, meat or eggs a massive chunk of the available food stuffs would disappear, and that would not be easily replaced. Imagine a city like New York suddenly banning meat, so you have 6 million people needing to switch their diets. There have been several anecdotal stories of people becoming very sick when they switched to a vegan diet. Vegans will say "they just didn't do it right", but I do get the feeling that unless you are tracking your nutrient intake to quite a fine degree it is very easy to have things get out of whack. One report claimed something like 60% of vegans were anaemic and several sources pointed out that with milk and egg substitutes you could have a vegan diet that was heavily cake based. Someone even pointed out that Oreo cookies are vegan friendly, so it is quite possible to have a terrible diet and be vegan. That sounds more like a requirement of legislation to clarify what "free range" needs to be. I know Australia was famous for having done this poorly, with a thousand birds crammed into a warehouse but they could claim "free range" simply because they weren't caged. New Zealand is banning cage eggs, so I really hope the term is better defined here. We also have to be careful to not punish the small farms and life style blocks who run chickens in a much better manner, giving wide open spaces and limited numbers of animals. In those cases collecting the eggs from actually free range animals doesn't have any harm to the chickens. The other one that Earthling Ed mentioned was bees, but I thought his argument there was a lot less solid. He mentioned they pull the wings off the queen to stop her from leaving the hive, but other than that harm the hive seems to be quite happy and pretty much free to do what they please. If we were to ban bee keeping that could seriously damage the already declining numbers of hives out there. Currently they are monitored, given medicine, keep protected from predators, made sure they have adequate food and water, and kept safe from weather extremes. In the wild they have a more challenging survival. It really seems the amount of harm is very minor compared to the potential good done to the environment. I also thought it was interesting to hear that the Western worlds demand for food meant large amounts of crops were imported from poorer nations. So while we could be perfectly vegan, the avocado farmers in Mexico might have some truly terrible farming techniques with tons of pesticides, lots of surface erosion, no crop rotation and child/slave labour used. The vegans can then sit on their moral high ground saying "we didn't hurt the animals" all the while causing ecological damage and harm to the poor people having to work in poor conditions to provide the veges. There was a claim that herd animals fertilized the ground, air-rated it and caused regrowth, while pure agriculture stripped the nutrients from the soil and in some extreme cases destroyed the land. I think we are headed to a more middle ground, with bans to factory farming, cage farming and animal harm. I don't see us moving to a complete vegan style any time soon, but with the discussions about it I'm sure more and more people will try it.
  19. When I was 2 a Labrador decided to play with me, knocked me down and cut me when he playfully jumped on me. I have no memory of the event, but for 30 years after that I suffered from canine phobia. Upon seeing a dog my heart would start racing, I would break out in a sweat, I would get the shakes and near panic like adrenaline rush. It didn't matter if the dog was a tiny Chihuahua or a great dane, as soon as my brain decided it was one of "those" then it automatically kicked in the panic response. It was a strange feeling, of consciously knowing a tiny dog is no threat but still having the physical reaction outside of my control. I've now had contact with dogs (my aunty had a corgi, my in-laws had a snoodle) to the point where I don't have the same reaction, but I'm still wary of all dogs and automatically scared of big dogs. Having that experience I can really see the difference between fear (a justifiable worry of potential harm) and phobias (an irrational fear of an object). Fear of spiders can keep you safe from the poisonous ones, but taking it to the extreme where you can't open a cupboard in case there is a spider inside sets it apart. I feel many people get this distinction wrong, with people using phobia to mean "scared of". You don't have a snake phobia, it is perfectly normal to be fearful of types of animals that can kill you. I saw one documentary showing a woman who had arachnophobia to an extreme level. She used a stick to open cupboards, to shake her shoes before touching them and to check food packaging from a distance. She reapplied anti-spider spray to the outside of her house and around her windows on a weekly basis. She even sprayed the toilet before being able to use it. She had it so bad that it basically crippled her from having any enjoyment of life. She could hardly leave the house, couldn't visit other peoples houses and couldn't hold a job. It was great to see such people can recover and with treatment she was able to overcome the problem. Just need to reprogram the brain to no longer consider that thing as a deadly threat. Have any of you suffered from phobias or do you know anyone who does?
  20. I know some people love Reddit, but I could never stand the format. Just an ugly wall of text, a random jumble of articles where finding the quality articles is like mining for diamonds. Still always good to have more ways to reach the people that want to discuss the subject. r/exchristian has 54k subscribers, so it does have a level of popularity. I tried a Facebook search and found this sites content, but from there you could link to lots of other pages with similar content: "Life after god", "stupid church people", "Religion hurts humanity" etc. I guess there are dozens of other sites with similar themes, which is great to see. Personally I prefer the nice clean layout of these forums without the trolls, complaints and pages of irrelevant articles.
  21. That would be quite a fun sideline, a two party political system, Sith vs Jedi More interesting that the dull democracy we have to put up with! Imagine the US parties renamed, president changed to grand chancellor and vice president changed to apprentice...
  22. Do you believe in miracles? Well, I didn't either until I saw this young miracle worker restore the vision of a blind panhandler right on the street!
  23. I think the Google generation will continue the decline of religion just due to how easy it is to fact check claims. People searching for bible references or any apologetic preacher will always find counter arguments and clear evidence against the claims. Education reduces religion and technology improves education. We just need to help the third world get more education and the religious growth in those places will start to reverse.
  24. "Pew Research estimates that 40 million people are expected to convert to Christianity between 2010-2050, and 106 million people are expected to leave Christianity during that period (resulting in a net loss of 66 million)." "In Quebec, since the Quiet Revolution, over 500 churches (20% of the total) have been closed or converted for non-worship based uses. In the 1950s, 95% of Quebec's population went to mass; in the present day, that number is closer to 5%. Despite the decline in church attendance, Christianity remains the dominant religion in Quebec, where 82.2% of people are Christians." "In 2015, Statistics Netherlands found that 50.1% of the adult population declared themselves non-religious." "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) lost about 30% of its congregation and closed 12.5% of its churches: the United Methodist church lost 16.7% of its congregation and 10.2% of its churches. The Presbyterian Church has had the sharpest decline in church membership: between 2000 and 2015 they lost over 40% of their congregation and 15.4% of their churches. Infant baptism has also decreased; nationwide, Catholic baptisms are down by nearly 34%, and ELCA baptisms by over 40%."
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